Pope makes 'heartfelt appeal' to preserve 'status quo' in Jerusalem

Pope makes 'heartfelt appeal' to preserve 'status quo' in Jerusalem

Pope Francis said Jerusalem, a holy place for Jews, Christians and Muslims, has a special vocation for peace.

"I can not remain silent about my deep concern for the situation that has developed in recent days", Francis said at his weekly general audience at the Vatican.

Pope Francis called the status quo of Jerusalem to be respected and "wisdom and prudence" to prevail to avoid further conflict on December 6, ahead of an announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, as global concern mounted.

The former Holy See ambassador, who now serves as advisor to the Vatican's office for Integral Human Development, endorsed the appeal made by Pope Francis earlier on Wednesday to maintain the Status Quo of Jerusalem.

"I pray to the Lord that this identity would be preserve and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world and that wisdom and prudence would prevail, to avoid adding new elements of tension in a world already shaken and marked by many cruel conflicts".

Trump is also expected to approve moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, although not immediately.




"The US president and his regional allies will bear responsibility for this decision's unsafe consequences", the official said.

He appealed "that eveyrone respects the status quo of the city", according to United Nations resolutions.

Palestinians, Arab and Muslim countries warn that a unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital would "unleash widespread public anger" and deal a death knee to the peace process. The call with the pontiff was made at Abbas' initiative, the Associated Press reported, citing Vatican officials.

Before making his public comments, Francis met privately with a group of Palestinians involved in inter-religious dialogue with the Vatican.

"Dialogue is the source of greater mutual knowledge, greater mutual esteem and cooperation in the pursuit of the common good, and generous cooperation in ensuring that those in need receive all necessary assistance", Pope Francis said.

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

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