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Pope renews call for Jerusalem status quo, urges Israel-Palestine talks

Pope Francis has again stressed the importance of preserving the status quo in Jerusalem, and urged fresh talks between Israel and Palestine on a two-state solution, the Vatican said on Thursday. The pontiff opposed US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his plans to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. In a letter to Egypt’s top Muslim cleric Ahmed al-Tayeb, Pope Francis referred to “the unique nature of Jerusalem.” He said that “only a special status, guaranteed by the international community, can preserve its identity, [and] unique vocation as a place of peace,” AFP reported.