Recognizing the Rights of All People is Important: Pope

Pope Erdogan in telephone talks over Jerusalem report

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.

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".

"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", the Pope said while concluding his regular Wednesday general audience.

Francis made the appeal during his weekly audience, hours before the expected announcement that the United States is to recognise the city as Israel's capital.

The Argentine pontiff's call came a day after he spoke by phone with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, the Vatican said without elaborating.

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.

Arkansas hires SMU's Morris as head coach
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Pope Francis also spoke about the necessary conditions for true dialogue.

He said: "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".

US President Donald Trump will deliver his speech, expecting the US president to "recognize the reality" that Jerusalem has always been the capital of Israel and to declare the move to the US diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv and which for decades remained a reason of contention between Israelis and Palestinians.

Pope Francis shakes hands with Palestinian Minister Of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash during a private meeting at the Vatican December 6, 2017.

Jerusalem remains at the core of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem - now occupied by Israel - might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

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