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.
In a weekly general audience later, the Pontiff was even more outspoken in calling for all to honor United Nations resolutions on the city, which is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
“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.
The Pope told thousands of people at the audience: “I cannot keep quiet about my deep worry about the situation that has been created in the last few days.”
He said he hoped “wisdom and prudence prevail, in order to avoid adding new elements of tension to a global panorama that is already convulsed and marked by so many and cruel conflicts.”
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, senior U.S. officials said, a decision that upends decades of U.S. policy.
U.S. allies both in the Middle East and Europe have voiced concern that the move risks fuelling violence.
“Any announcement prior to a final settlement would have a detrimental impact on the peace process and would heighten tensions in the region,” Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. told CNN late Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to cut diplomatic ties with the U.S. over the issue, saying the issue was a “red line” for Muslims.