World warns Trump not to take provocative step on Jerusalem

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Pope Francis has stated his "concern" over USA president Donald Trump's expected decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Pope Francis joined a chorus of negative reactions to Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state and move its embassy there.

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".

The Christian leaders, who include Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs as well as the Franciscan custos of the Holy Land, said Jerusalem could be "shared and fully enjoyed" once a political process helped "liberate the hearts of all people that live within it from the conditions of conflict and destructiveness that they are experiencing".

"The US president and his regional allies will bear responsibility for this decision's unsafe consequences", the official said.

"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.

He appealed "that eveyrone respects the status quo of the city", according to United Nations resolutions.

According to Vatican Radio, the pope received a telephone call from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Dec. 5 regarding Trump's plan to move the USA embassy to Jerusalem.

Arab leaders have warned the Trump administration's decision would subvert decades of USA foreign policy and risk triggering further conflicts and violence in the Middle East.

In especially strong language, the pope added, "I pray to the Lord that such identity be preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the entire world, and that wisdom and prudence prevail, to avoid adding new elements of tension in a world already shaken and scarred by many cruel conflicts".

Saudi Arabia's King Salman warned his close ally that moving the United States embassy was a "dangerous step" that could rile Muslims around the world. Pope Francis said the Catholic Church in France had chose to use the phrase "do not let us fall into temptation" as an alternative and indicated that it or something similar should be applied worldwide.

The Pope made comments to a group of visiting Palestinians involved in inter-religious dialogue with the Vatican.

He spoke of dialogue between religions "and also in civil society".

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