Jerusalem focus of Pope-Jordan king audience

Commitment to favouring peace process renewed

(ANSA) - Vatican City, December 19 - The issue of the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital and the threat to the Mideast peace process topped the agenda of talks in the Vatican Tuesday between Pope Francis and King Abdullah of Jordan, the Holy See said.
    Talks also focused on the role of the king as guardian and custodian of holy sites in Jerusalem.
    In this context, a commitment to favouring negotiations between the sides was renewed.
    Abdullah and the pope spoke privately for about 20 minutes at the start of the king's visit to the Vatican and France.
    A Vatican statement said they discussed "the promotion of peace and stability in the Mideast, with particular reference to the question of Jerusalem and the role of the Hashemite Sovereign as Custodian of the Holy Places".
    King Abdullah's Hashemite dynasty is the custodian of the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, making Amman sensitive to any changes of status of the disputed city.
    When US President Donald Trump announced his decision on December 6, the pope responded by calling for the city's "status quo" to be respected, saying new tension in the Middle East would further inflame world conflicts.
    Among an outpouring of international criticism, Jordan also rejected the US decision, calling it legally "null" because it consolidated Israel's occupation of the eastern sector of the city.
    On Tuesday King Abdullah brought the pope a print of Jerusalem.