Pope Francis: I Cannot Hide 'My Deep Concern' Over Jerusalem

07 December, 2017, 01:25 | Author: Ora Austin
  • Israel Pope UN EU others criticize Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as capital

Pope Francis made foreign politics the focus of his weekly general audience, pinpointing the highlights of his recent trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh and calling on the worldwide community not to destabilize the current situation in Jerusalem.

(Vatican Radio) Ahead of an expected decision by the U.S President on Wednesday to recognize Jerusalem as the new Israeli capital, a top Vatican official said the move will add "fuel to the fire" of conflict and instability across the Middle East.

Palestinians and Arab leaders across the region have criticized President Trump's decision, which includes a plan to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In his remarks, Pope Francis said the Holy Land was the "land par excellence of dialogue between God and mankind".

Trump is expected to announce Wednesday the US recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

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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.

"I cannot keep silent my deep concern about the situation that has occurred in recent days, while urging everyone to respect the status quo of the city in accordance with United Nations resolutions", said Pope Francis in a speech in Vatican City in the afternoon.

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 also voiced his hope that "peace and prosperity" would prevail for the Palestinian people.

The US' plan to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital has drawn criticism from a number of world leaders who fear it would further escalate regional tensions. His was the first papal trip to Myanmar, a country that has recently been making headlines all over the world due to what the United Nations has called "textbook ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya Muslim minority there.

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

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