Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

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

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

The pontiff has called for the "status quo" to be respected, after Mr Trump indicated the embassy would be relocated from Tel Aviv to the contested city of Jerusalem.

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

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

At the end of the audience, the pope gave a special salute to the Syrian and Iraqi refugees living in Italy who were present and to the priests, sisters and lay people form Myanmar and Bangladesh who came to visit the Vatican after the papal trips.

Israel has traditionally always recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, however, Palestinians claim that the eastern portion of the city is the capital of the future Palestinian state.

"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.

He said he hoped "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".

The news that the Mr. Trump intends to move the US embassy, a process that could take several years, has brought strong protests not only from Palestinians but also from the Arab world and the European Union, who warn that the decision is likely to scuttle the peace process in the Middle East.

According to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, the final status of Jerusalem will be discussed in the late stages of the talks.

The pope made the appeal during his weekly audience in Vatican city after speaking with the Palestinian leader and Palestinian religious and intellectual representatives in a previously scheduled audience.

"My thought now goes to Jerusalem".

Speaking during a weekly address in Vatican, the Pope said: "I can not keep silent on my deep concern for the situation that has been created in the past days".

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