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The Pope has Called for Respect for the Status quo in Jerusalem
07 December 2017, 01:23 | Darnell Patrick
Recognizing the Rights of All People is Important: Pope
Pope Francis on Wednesday expressed concern about the situation regarding Jerusalem and called for the status quo there to be respected.
Trump is due on Wednesday to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and set in motion the relocation of the US Embassy to the ancient city, senior US officials said, a decision that upends decades of US policy and risks fuelling violence in the Middle East.
When Francis visited the Holy Land in 2014, he flew directly by helicopter from Jordan to what the Vatican programme called the "State of Palestine" and visited Israel last.
Pope Francis, who had returned to the Vatican late the night before after a six-day trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh, also used his midday address as an opportunity to thank everyone who had prayed for the trip's success and everyone who had a hand in organizing it.
The Holy See recognised the Palestinian state in 2015.
Palestinians and Arab leaders across the region have criticized President Trump's decision, which includes a plan to move the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Pope Francis made foreign politics the focus of his weekly general audience, pinpointing the highlights of his recent trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh and calling on the global community not to destabilize the current situation in Jerusalem.
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The pope spoke by telephone to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about the crisis on Tuesday.
"Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, where the Holy Places for the respective religions are venerated, and it has a special vocation to peace", Francis said.
He noted how his November 27-30 visit to Burma marked the first time a pope has ever traveled to the country, which took place just months after the Holy See established full diplomatic relations with the nation in May.
Similarly, he said his November 30-Dec.
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.
Religious freedom was a major theme, as reflected in each of his meetings, he said, and underlined the importance of "openness of the heart as the basis for the culture of encounter, harmony and peace".
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