Pope Francis: Has 'Deep Worry' Over US Decision to Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem
Pope Francis has called for status quo of Jerusalem to be respected and for “wisdom and prudence” to prevail to avoid further conflict. Francis made the appeal during his weekly Wednesday audience, ahead of the expected U.S. announcement by President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Francis said he had “deep worry” about recent developments, and declared Jerusalem a unique and sacred place for Christians, Jews and Muslims that has a “special vocation for peace.”
“I cannot keep quiet about my deep worry about the situation that has been created in the last few days,” he said.
He says: “I pray to the Lord that its identity is preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world and that wisdom and prudence prevail to prevent new elements of tension from being added to a global context already convulsed by so many cruel conflicts.”
Regrets Trump's 'unilateral' Jerusalem decision: France
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday he did not support U.S. President Donald Trump’s “unilateral” decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and called for calm across the region, reported Reuters.
“This decision is a regrettable decision that France does not approve of and goes against international law and all the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council,” Macron told reporters at a news conference in Algiers.
Macron, thought to be one of the few world leaders with some leverage on Trump, is said to have spoken to the president earlier this week, when reports were afloat about the US policy change, to try to convince him to change his mind.
France and Europe are attached to a two-state solution - Israel and Palestine with Jerusalem the capital of both states,” he said, adding that Paris was ready to work with partners to find a solution.
'Disagrees' with 'unhelpful' US decision: UK
Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday said the British government disagreed with US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, saying it was "unhelpful" for peace efforts.
"We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital," she said in a statement. "We believe it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region".
US move puts region in ring of fire: Turkey
Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticised US President Donald Trump's decision and said would throw the region into "a ring of fire", Al-Jazeera reported.
"Taking such a step throws particularly this region into a ring of fire. What would you like to do [with this step], Mr Trump? What kind of stance is it?" Erdogan said on Thursday, at Esenboga Airport in the capital Ankara, before leaving for a visit to Greece.
The Turkish president, who had earlier warned that the status of Jerusalem was a red line for Muslims, said that the US decision was against a 1980 United Nations resolution regarding the status of the city.
He added that political leaders should work to bring peace, not stir things up.
Calling Jerusalem "also a sanctuary for Christians", Erdogan added that he would speak to Pope Francis about Trump’s decision this evening or on Friday.
Turkey will host an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) on December 13 to discuss the US move.
No support to Trump's decision on Jerusalem: Germanyl
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that Germany does not support US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.
"The Federal Government does not support this attitude because the status of Jerusalem is to be negotiated within the framework of a two-state solution," Xinhua news agency quoted spokesperson Steffen Seibert as saying on behalf of Merkel.
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump announced that he formally recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital, while ordering to immediately begin the process of relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
During his presidential campaign, Trump pledged to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
European Union: 'Serious concern'
The European Union's chief diplomat Federica Mogherini voiced "serious concern" at Trump's new stance on Jerusalem.
"The aspirations of both parties must be fulfilled and a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states," Mogherini said, referring to Israelis and Palestinians.
US Jerusalem move could cause 'escalation' of tensions: China
China has warned that US President Donald Trump's plan to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital could fuel tensions in the region. "We are concerned about the possible escalation of tensions," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing on Wednesday.
"All relevant parties should bear regional peace and tranquility in mind, be cautious in words and deeds, avoid impacting the foundation for the settlement of the issue of Palestine, and avoid causing new confrontation in the region."
Iran threatens 'New intifada' -
Iran condemned the US move, saying it threatened a "new intifada", or uprising, against Israel.
"The provocative and unwise decision by the US... will provoke Muslims and inflame a new intifada and an escalation of radical, angry and violent behaviour," the foreign ministry said on its website.
Indonesia summons US ambassador
Indonesian president Joko Widodo, who leads the world's biggest Muslim-majority country, said he "condemned" Trump's decision on Jerusalem, and ordered the US ambassador in Jakarta to be summoned over the move.
"Indonesia strongly condemns the United States' one-sided recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and asks the US to reconsider this decision," Widodo said in televised remarks.