President Mahmoud Abbas affirmed during a telephone call with Pope Francis the importance of starting a political process that ends the Israeli occupation of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
During the phone conversation, President Abbas briefed Pope Francis on the latest developments of the Palestinian cause and the need to stop the hostilities of settlers and the Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem, especially the extremists’ storming of al-Aqsa Mosque and disrespect for the historical status quo of the holy site.
He also warned against house demolitions and the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.
President Abbas highly appreciated the existing friendship and cooperation relations with the Pope and Vatican in order to establish the foundations of stability and peace in the region, stressing the Palestinian side’s commitment to peace based on United Nations resolutions and under the auspices of the International Quartet.
The President as well stressed the need to adhere to the implementation of the signed agreements, highlighting the importance of maintaining security and the rule of law as well as maintaining the Christian presence in the Holy Land and promoting tolerance.
For his part, Pope Francis said: “We all want a two-state solution, and East Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Palestine, and this is the right path because it is the path to peace.”
He also expressed happiness to continue communicating with President Abbas as the President of Palestine, saying he will continue to stand by President Abbas’s side and make efforts to achieve peace.