Pope contradicts Trump over US embassy move

President Trump and Pope Francis met in May

Pope contradicts Trump over US embassy move


The Pontiff called for "all to respect the city's status quo, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions".


Pope Francis has set himself on a new collision course with Donald Trump over the President's plans to move the US Israeli embassy.

The Pontiff has called for the "status quo" to be respected, after Mr Trump indicated the embassy would be relocated from Tel Aviv to the contested city of Jerusalem.

"I cannot silence my deep concern over the situation that has emerged in recent days," the Pope said. "I appeal strongly for all to respect the city's status quo, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions."

Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital, and the city's status is marked as a final issue to be decided in a peace agreement.

It is regarded as the centre of the Jewish religion, where the biblical King David built a city around the ancient and holy Temple Mount.

Many Israelis, and the country's current government, regard the city as an eternal and undivided capital.

The state has controlled west Jerusalem since 1948, but after the 1967 war annexed the east of the city and occupied the West Bank, staking a claim beyond internationally defined borders.

East Jerusalem is predominantly Palestinian, home to Islam's third holiest site, the Haram el Sharif, as well as sacred Christian churches and more than 300,000 Palestinians, who make up nearly 40 per cent of Jerusalem's population.

Palestinians want to retain control over part of the city in a final agreement, and accuse Israeli authorities of changing the reality on the ground by building settlements in east Jerusalem and making life difficult for Arabs living there.

In his comments, made during his weekly address, Pope Francis called the Holy Land the "land par excellence of dialogue between God and mankind".

"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.

The Arab world responded to President Trump's reported plan with anger, and media condemned the move as cities across the region braced for protests.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlet Cavusoglu said the "whole world is against" a move, calling it a "grave mistake" that would bring "chaos and instability".

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson said there were no plans to move Britain's embassy to the city.

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 13:08
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