Respect status quo in Jerusalem - Pope says

POOL New  Reuters                   Pope Francis has disagreed with the translation

POOL New Reuters Pope Francis has disagreed with the translation

In a tweet this morning, Cardinal Nichols urged people to "heed again the words of Pope Francis: Jerusalem is a "unique city" that has "a special vocation for peace".

US President Donald Trump will deliver his speech, expecting the US president to "recognize the reality" that Jerusalem has always been the capital of Israel and to declare the move to the US diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv and which for decades remained a reason of contention between Israelis and Palestinians.

"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.

Pope Francis insisted that the status quo be "respected" in Israel by the US government that has never recognized Jerusalem as the capital because Palestinians also claim that historic city as its capital.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned that Trump's expected move underlines the urgency of a new US -led Middle East peace plan.

"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.

The status of the city remains disputed.

Palestinians and Arab leaders have warned the move is a threat to the Middle East peace process. "I pray to God that this identity is preserved and reinforced, for the sake of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world, and that wisdom and prudence prevail", he said.

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

The internationally unsettled status of Jerusalem and its central importance to Jews, Muslims and Christians explains why, while recognizing the state of Israel, no nation has its embassy in the holy city.

The Pope made his comments on Wednesday during a previously scheduled meeting with a Palestinian delegation of religious and intellectual leaders. Pope Francis said the Catholic Church in France had made a decision to use the phrase "do not let us fall into temptation" as an alternative and indicated that it or something similar should be applied worldwide.

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