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Pope urges status quo, 'wisdom and prudence' for Jerusalem


Similarly, the Syrian government on Wednesday condemned Trump's decision to recognise the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv, Syrian state news agency SANA said.

Vatican City: Pope Francis on Wednesday defended the "status quo" of Jerusalem, hours ahead of an announcement by US President Donald Trump in which officials said he will recognise the disputed city as Israel's capital.

"We ask you, Mr President, to help us all walk toward more love and a definitive peace, which can not be reached without Jerusalem being for all", they said.

At the same time, the Vatican consistently has called for a special status for Jerusalem, particularly its Old City, in order to protect and guarantee access to the holy sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, former Vatican envoy to the U.N.in Geneva, said any move away from the Status Quo in Jerusalem "could have unforeseen consequences".




Schulz said Trump's decision risked setting back the peace process in the Middle East. The Vatican said the call with Francis was made at Abbas' initiative.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman warned his close ally that moving the USA embassy was a "dangerous step" that could rile Muslims around the world.

Francis made the appeal during his weekly audience, after speaking with the Palestinian leader and soon after meeting with a delegation of Palestinian religious and intellectual representatives in a previously scheduled audience. The Argentine pontiff called for "wisdom and prudence to avoid adding new elements of tension in a world panorama that is already unharmonious and marked by many cruel conflicts".

"The primary condition of that dialogue is reciprocal respect and a commitment to strengthening that respect, for the sake of recognising the rights of all people, wherever they happen to be", he said. "We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division", the Christian leaders wrote on 6 December.

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