Pope Francis on Wednesday defended the "status quo" in Jerusalem, hours ahead of an announcement by US President Donald Trump in which officials said he will recognise the disputed city as Israel`s capital.
"I cannot silence my deep concern over the situation that has emerged in recent days. At the same time, I appeal strongly for all to respect the city`s status quo, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions," the pope said in his weekly address.
Trump on Wednesday will recognise Jerusalem as Israel`s capital and set in motion the relocation of the US Embassy to the ancient city, senior U.S. officials said, a decision that upends decades of US policy and risks fueling violence in the Middle East.
Facing an outcry of opposition from Arab capitals, Trump, in a landmark speech, will announce he has ordered the State Department to begin developing a plan to move the embassy from Tel Aviv in what is expected to be a process that takes three to four years, the officials said. He will not set a timetable for the move.
Trump will sign a national security waiver that authorizes him to delay the embassy relocation for now, since the US diplomats do not yet have a building in Jerusalem to move into, security arrangements or housing for diplomats, the officials said.