The Pope has Called for Respect for the Status quo in Jerusalem

Pope Francis talks during a special audience with nuns of Rome's diocese in Paul VI hall at the Vatican

With debate on the status of Jerusalem heating up in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial decision to recognize the city as the capital of Israel, Pope Francis has urged worldwide leaders to proceed with prudence and respect for current United Nations resolutions.

"I pray to the Lord that this identity may be preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Middle East and of the entire world", Francis continued, "and that wisdom and prudence prevail, to avoid adding new elements of tension in an already convulsed worldwide panorama marked by so many cruel conflicts".

Trump stated, on Tuesday, that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but did not mention whether the Middle Eastern country's USA embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to the "new" lead city. numerous speculative reports suggest that the American head of state will establish Jerusalem's only embassy.

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. "In this regard, I can not ignore my deep concern for the situation that has been created in recent days", the Pope said December 6.

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

Jerusalem remains at the core of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem - now occupied by Israel - might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Because of this, he said the city has "a special vocation for peace". According to the BBC, the United States would be the first nation to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel since the nation was founded in 1948. His was the first papal trip to Myanmar, a country that has recently been making headlines all over the world due to what the United Nations has called "textbook ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya Muslim minority there.

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. He also voiced his hope that "peace and prosperity" would prevail for the Palestinian people.

The pope highlighted the value of dialogue and its importance for the Catholic Church, especially in the birthplace of Christianity.

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