Global News

Pope Francis to Palestinian clergy: Respect is first precondition for dialogue

Pope Francis to Palestinian clergy: Respect is first precondition for dialogue

(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.

Pope 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. 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".

He made the appeal during his weekly Wednesday audience, ahead of the expected U.S. announcement by President Donald Trump recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Pope Francis called on President Donald Trump to respect the "status quo" and not move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

The pope is effectively telling the president, without naming him, not to proceed down this road, warning that it can lead to even more conflict in the Holy Land and the Middle East.

Pope Francis says he can not remain silent about a White House plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

In Bangladesh, a majority Muslim country, the pope's trip was aimed at fostering dialogue between Islam and Catholicism, following in the footsteps of the previous papal visits by Pope Paul VI and Saint John Paul II.

Brrrrr! Bone-chilling gales for Denver, and snow possible Thursday
Either a dusting of snow or snow showers are possible Friday and Saturday nights for parts of New Jersey, forecasters say. "A weak system may bring light snow on Thursday and help keep cool air over the area", the weather service says.

Israel has traditionally always recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, however, Palestinians claim that the eastern portion of the city is the capital of the future Palestinian state.

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

According to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, the final status of Jerusalem will be discussed in the late stages of the talks.

The Pope made comments to a group of visiting Palestinians involved in inter-religious dialogue with the Vatican.

The Vatican and Israel established full diplomatic relations in 1994. He expressed his hope for "peace and prosperity" for the Palestinian people.

Burma, a majority Buddhist country where minorities, including Christians, often face stigma and discrimination, is still working to transition to a democratic government after more than 50 years of military rule, while also facing harsh criticism from the global community over what the United Nations has called a "textbook case of ethnic cleansing" of Rohingya Muslims from the country's Rakhine State.

"In Dhaka we experienced a moment of strong interreligious and ecumenical dialogue, which gave me the opportunity to underline the openness of the heart as the base for the culture of encounter, for harmony and for peace", he said.