Pope calls for 'status quo' of Jerusalem to be respected

Frederick Owens
December 8, 2017

In response to Trump's announcement, patriarchs and heads of all churches in Jerusalem urged Trump to reconsider his decision to relocate the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, reiterating deep concerns of potentially escalating conflicts in a region sacred to Muslims, Jews, and Christians.

Trump is expected to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and set in motion the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to the ancient city, senior U.S. officials said, a decision that upends decades of U.S. policy and risks fuelling violence in the Middle East.

Francis spoke by telephone on Tuesday with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, after President Donald Trump told Abbas of his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

We ask from you, Mr President, to help us all walk towards more love and a definitive peace, which can not be reached without Jerusalem being for all.

The Vatican supports a "two-state solution" for the Holy Land with independence, recognition and secure borders for both Israel and Palestine.

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He appealed that everyone should respect the status quo of the city, according to United Nations resolutions.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned that Trump's expected move underlines the urgency of a new USA -led Middle East peace plan. "And at the same time, I wish to make a heartfelt appeal to ensure that everyone is committed to respecting the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations". The political question, it has insisted, must be the result of negotiation.

He said he hoped "wisdom and prudence prevail, in order to avoid adding new elements of tension to a global panorama that is already convulsed and marked by so many and cruel conflicts".

Dialogue, the pope said, takes place at every level, especially "in our families, in our religious communities, between different religious communities, and also in civil society".

"That is not a good translation", the pope said in a television interview on Wednesday.

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