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

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

Pope Francis, speaking hours before U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement on Jerusalem, called on Wednesday for the city's "status quo" to be respected, saying new tension in the Middle East would further inflame world conflicts.

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.

During his election campaign previous year, Trump repeatedly promised to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"My thought now goes to Jerusalem".

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

The Pope centered his homily on the day's reading from Isaiah (11:1-10), in which the prophet foretells the coming of the Messiah as a shoot that "shall sprout from the stump of Jesse", and says that "the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him".

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned to cut diplomatic ties with Israel if the United States recognises Jerusalem as its capital.

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.

"Along with meeting the Catholic community, I had a chance to meet Myanmar's authorities, encouraging the country's efforts for peace and hoping that all the different components of the nation, none excluded, could cooperate in such a process with mutual respect", he said.

At the meeting, the pope said dialogue between all parties would come only through "recognising the rights of all people", noting that the Holy Land was the "land par excellence of dialogue between God and mankind".

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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