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

Pope Francis arrives for a weekly general audience at the Paul VI hall after greeting Palestinian delegation- AFP

"I can not keep quiet about my deep worry about the situation that has been created in the last few days".

"Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, who venerate the Holy Sites of their respective religions there, and it has a special vocation to peace", the Pope continued in his address Wednesday.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, has said that he fears for Jerusalem and its people following President Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Pope Francis joined a chorus of negative reactions to Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state and move its embassy there.

"Jerusalem is a final-status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, taking into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides", Mr. Guterres said.

The Turkish government said the expected USA move risked igniting a "fire" in the Middle East and would prove a "great disaster".

Jerusalem remains at the core of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem - now occupied by Israel - might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

He added that he wishes "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".

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

In an open letter Christian leaders in Jerusalem said recognition of the city as the capital of Israel by the USA could have dire regional consequences.

May said the ancient city should ultimately be shared between Israel and a future Palestinian state.

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.

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