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

08 December, 2017, 01:47 | Author: Rita Burton
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"Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred for Jews, Christians and Muslims", he said, adding that it was home to sites deemed holy by followers of the three major monotheistic faiths.

Trump is undermining global stability with his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the US embassy there, the leader of Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) said yesterday. "At the same time, I appeal strongly for all to respect the city's status quo, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions", the pope said in his weekly address.

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

Trump will make the announcement in a speech Wednesday - which will be closely watched by other world leaders who fear the move will undermine peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and spark protests across the Middle East.

Senior U.S. officials said Trump is due on Wednesday to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and set in motion the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to the ancient city.

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One US official said: "US policy is going to be honest about a reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel".

The conversation was "part of a series of contacts made by the president of the Palestinian National Authority after his conversation with Donald Trump during which - according to Abbas' spokesman - the USA president announced his intention to move the American embassy", Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, told Vatican Radio. "We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division", the Christian leaders wrote on 6 December.

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".

"The primary condition of that dialogue is reciprocal respect and a commitment to strengthening that respect, for the sake of recognizing the rights of all people, wherever they happen to be", he said.

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