Pope Francis uses his Christmas message to call for "peaceful coexistence" of Palestine and Israel as future states "within mutually agreed and internationally recognised borders."

Pope Francis waves as he leads the
Pope Francis waves as he leads the "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on December 25, 2017. (Reuters)

Pope Francis used his Christmas message on Monday to call for a negotiated two-state solution to end the Palestinian-Israeli 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 unilateral 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. 

'Mutual trust' on Koreas

Over 120 countries defied Trump last week and voted in favour of a United Nations General Assembly resolution, calling for the US to drop its unilateral move on the status of Jerusalem. 

Francis also called for "mutual trust" on the Korean peninsula as he highlighted the suffering of children in conflicts across the world in his address.

"Let us pray that confrontation may be overcome on the Korean peninsula and that mutual trust may increase in the interest of the world as a whole," the pope said.

Praying for Philippines

Earlier on Sunday, he said he was praying for the population of Mindanao, a southern Philippines island devastated by floods and landslides. 

Over 240 were killed in the tropical storm and while wrecking the Christmas celebrations for the survivors. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies