Pope Francis contradicts Donald Trump over USA embassy move

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His appeal is clearly addressed to President Donald J. Trump, who will reportedly declare today that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the Holy City in a reversal of nearly seven decades of USA foreign policy.

The former Holy See ambassador, who now serves as advisor to the Vatican's office for Integral Human Development, endorsed the appeal made by Pope Francis earlier on Wednesday to maintain the Status Quo of Jerusalem.

Pope Francis says he can not remain silent about a White House plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The pontiff has called for the "status quo" to be respected, after Mr Trump indicated the embassy would be relocated from Tel Aviv to the contested city of Jerusalem.

Debate on the issue is in many ways the crux of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, which is backed by Arab leaders, including Saudi Arabia, and the wider Islamic world.

The Vatican has long sought an internationally guaranteed status for Jerusalem that safeguards its sacred character for Jews, Muslims and Christians.

He added that Israel must not allow its own interests to "disrupt what the United Nations has repeated many times, and what has also been the logical and coherent position of the Holy See for all the past decades". The Holy See has always been against any change in the status of Jerusalem.

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According to Vatican Radio, the pope received a telephone call from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Dec. 5 regarding Trump's plan to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. The political question, it has insisted, must be the result of negotiation.

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk out of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher May 22.

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".

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran hosted this encounter organized by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, which he directs.

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

"Dialogue is the source of greater mutual knowledge, greater mutual esteem and cooperation in the pursuit of the common good, and generous cooperation in ensuring that those in need receive all necessary assistance", Pope Francis said.

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