Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

Pope Francis appeals to respect Jerusalem's 'status quo'

Pope Francis appeals to respect Jerusalem's 'status quo'

The pontiff added that maintaining the status quo was important "in order to avoid adding new elements of tension to an already volatile world that is wracked by so many cruel conflicts".

On Dec. 6, Pope Francis appealed for Jerusalem's status quo to be respected and for "wisdom and prudence" to prevail over the city, hours before President Trump's announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, according to the Vatican Radio.

At the meeting, the pope said dialogue between all parties would come only through "recognising the rights of all people", noting that the Holy Land was the "land par excellence of dialogue between God and mankind".

Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall during his weekly general audience, during which he recounted the phases of his recent November 27-Dec.

The Vatican supports a two-state solution.

In 2012, the Vatican called for "an internationally guaranteed special statute" for Jerusalem, aimed at "safeguarding the freedom of religion and of conscience, the identity and sacred character of Jerusalem as a Holy City, (and) respect for, and freedom of, access to its holy places".

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There is enormous tension in the Middle east with United States President Donald Trump set recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital in a speech.

Palestinians and Arab leaders have warned the move is a threat to the Middle East peace process.

The pope, who spoke to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about the crises on Tuesday, made his comments to a group of visiting Palestinians involved in the interfaith dialogue with the Vatican.

He noted how his November 27-30 visit to Burma marked the first time a pope has ever traveled to the country, which took place just months after the Holy See established full diplomatic relations with the nation in May.

Renewed conflict broke out in the Gaza Strip soon after.

Francis, former Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II all visited Israel and Palestinian territories. 2 visit to Bangladesh was equally important and focused largely on the need for "respect and dialogue" between Christianity and Islam, as the country is a majority-Muslim nation with a small Catholic community.

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