Pope Francis calls for recognising rights of all people in Jerusalem

Pope makes ‘heartfelt appeal’ to preserve ‘status quo’ in Jerusalem

Remo Casilli Reuters

Pope Francis has stated his "concern" over U.S. president Donald Trump's expected decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Trump is expected to formally 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 violence in the Middle East.

Francis said he was "profoundly concerned" about recent developments concerning Jerusalem, and declared the city a unique and sacred place for Christians, Jews and Muslims that has a "special vocation for peace".

Pope Francis says the Roman Catholic Church might consider adopting a more realistic and gentle adaption of the "lead us not into temptation" lyric of the "Our Father" prayer.

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Trump will make the announcement in a speech Wednesday - which will be closely watched by other world leaders who fear the move will undermine peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and spark protests across the Middle East.

"I can not remain silent about my deep concern for the situation that has developed in recent days", Francis said at his weekly general audience at the Vatican.

He appealed "that eveyrone respects the status quo of the city", according to United Nations resolutions.

A number of world leaders have warned against moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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"The US president and his regional allies will bear responsibility for this decision's risky consequences", the official said.

The Argentinian pontiff's call came a day after he spoke by phone with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, the Vatican said without elaborating.

Before the audience, Pope Francis met with religious leaders from Palestine attending a meeting sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

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

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However, a key condition for dialogue is mutual respect and a commitment to strengthen that respect "for the sake of recognizing the rights of all people, wherever they happen to be", he said.

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