Monday, 11 December, 2017

Recognizing the Rights of All People is Important: Pope

Pope Francis waves during his Angelus in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Dec. 3. Advent is a time to be watchful and alert to the ways one strays from God's path but also to signs of his presence in other people and in the beauty of the world Pope urges dialogue amid Jerusalem controversy
Howard Terry | 07 December, 2017, 01:22

"My thought now goes to Jerusalem".

The former Holy See ambassador, who now serves as advisor to the Vatican's office for Integral Human Development, endorsed the appeal made by Pope Francis earlier on Wednesday to maintain the Status Quo of Jerusalem.

He issued a "heartfelt appeal" to the worldwide community to ensure that "everyone is committed to respecting the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations". Moreover - similar steps could be interpreted as a clear signal for the rejection of Washington's two-state solution to the conflict in the region.

Pope Francis met with a Palestinian delegation in the Paul VI Audience Hall.

President Trump will reportedly announce Wednesday that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and that the State Department will initiate a process to move the USA embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

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.

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

"Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, who venerate the Holy Sites of their respective religions there, and it has a special vocation to peace", the Pope continued in his address Wednesday.

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".

"I pray to the Lord that its identity is preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East, and the whole world and that wisdom and prudence prevail to prevent new elements of tension from being added to a global context already convulsed by so many cruel conflicts".

The pope spoke by telephone to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about the crisis on Tuesday.

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.

On his trip to Burma and Bangladesh, Francis said it was "a great gift from God" and thanked the civil authorities and bishops of each country for their welcome and for everything they did to prepare for the trip.

The Vatican and Israel established full diplomatic relations in 1994.

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