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

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Because of this, he said the city has "a special vocation for peace".

Hours before US President Donald Trump delivers a long-awaited keynote that, according to a number of analysts, will put a point on Washington's almost 70-year-old political line for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Roman Catholic Church leader said he supported the status quo in Jerusalem, AFP reports.

Palestinians and Arab leaders across the region have criticized President Trump's decision, which includes a plan to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"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.

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.

Early on Wednesday, Francis met a delegation of Palestinian religious and intellectual leaders who were at the Vatican for a previously scheduled meeting with the Vatican's inter-religious dialogue office.

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.

"I make a heartfelt appeal so that all commit themselves to respecting the status quo of the city, in conformity with the pertinent resolutions of the United Nations", he said. Francis emphasized that the Vatican has long supported the Bangladeshi people's desire to be an independent nation and their will to promote religious freedom. He also voiced his hope that "peace and prosperity" would prevail for the Palestinian people.

The Holy See recognised the Palestinian state in 2015.

Most importantly the pope, who has recently been under scrutiny by some for not calling out the Rohingya by name during his trip and by others for not focusing enough on the persecution against Christians, stressed his commitment to fostering peace.

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