Pope Francis defends Jerusalem 'status quo'

Pope Francis defends Jerusalem 'status quo'

Pope Francis defends Jerusalem 'status quo'

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.

"I make a heartfelt appeal so that all commit themselves to respecting the status quo of the city, in conformity with the pertinent resolutions of the United Nations", he said at the end of his weekly general audience on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Trump is due on Wednesday to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and set in motion the relocation of the US Embassy to the ancient city, senior US officials said, a decision that upends decades of US policy and risks fuelling violence in the Middle East.

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.

The pope experienced first hand the consequences of war and conflict during his recent trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh.

He added that Israel must not allow its own interests to "disrupt what the United Nations has repeated many times, and what has also been the logical and coherent position of the Holy See for all the past decades".

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The shop is located on central Nanjing West Road, in a neighborhood with shops including Gap, Sephora and Uniqlo. The company is going to invest about 132 million yuan (20 million US dollars) in China over the next five years.

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

The Vatican has long sought an internationally guaranteed status for Jerusalem that safeguards its sacred character for Jews, Muslims and Christians.

In his comments to the group, Francis expressed his hope for "peace and prosperity" for the Palestinian people and called for dialogue that respects the rights of everyone in the Holy Land.

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.

Burma, a majority-Buddhist country where minorities, including Christians, often face stigma and discrimination, is still working to transition to a democratic government after more than 50 years of military rule, while also facing harsh criticism from the worldwide community over what the United Nations has called a "textbook case of ethnic cleansing" of Rohingya Muslims from the country's Rakhine state.

The pope highlighted the value of dialogue and its importance for the Catholic Church, especially in the birthplace of Christianity.

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