Pope calls for recognising rights of all people in Jerusalem

POPE GENERAL AUDIENCE

Pope Francis

Jerusalem

Pope Francis, speaking to Palestinians ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, said on Wednesday “recognising the rights of all people” in the Holy Land is a primary condition for dialogue.

The pope, who spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about the crisis on Tuesday, made his comments to a group of visiting Palestinians involved in inter-religious dialogue with the Vatican.

“The Holy Land is for us Christians the land par excellence of dialogue between God and mankind,” he said.

He spoke of dialogue between religions “and also in civil society”.

“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.

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Senior U.S. officials said Trump is due on Wednesday to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and set in motion the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to the ancient city.

This is a decision that upends decades of U.S. policy and risks fuelling violence in the Middle East.

Similarly, the Syrian government on Wednesday condemned Trump’s decision to recognise the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv, Syrian state news agency SANA said.

“(The move) is the culmination of the crime of usurping Palestine and displacing the Palestinian people,” SANA said, quoting a Foreign Ministry source.