Mideast needs two-state solution, Pope says in Christmas message

Pope Francis leads the Christmas night Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Vatican City Dec 25, 2017, 11.58 AM (IST)

Pope Francis used his Christmas message on Monday to call for a negotiated two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, after US President Donald Trump stoked regional tensions with his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"Let us pray that the will to resume dialogue may prevail between the parties and that a negotiated solution can finally be reached, one that would allow the peaceful coexistence of two states within mutually agreed and internationally recognised borders," Francis said.

It was the second time that the pope has spoken out publicly about Jerusalem since Trump's decision on December 6. On that day, Francis called for the city's "status quo" to be respected, lest new tensions in the Middle East further inflame world conflicts.