MOSCOW, February 14. /TASS/. The preservation of the special status of Jerusalem and guarantees for different religions is the principal condition for preserving peace on this land, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said on Wednesday at a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the patriarchal residence of St. Daniel’s Monastery in Moscow.
"I am confident that the key to pacification of these Biblical lands is in resolving relations between Palestine and Israel. A lasting peace can only be achieved through negotiations with due consideration of both parties’ interests, while realizing that the special status of Jerusalem should be preserved and proper conditions for religious activities are guaranteed," he said.
Patriarch Kirill noted that relations between the Palestinian government and the Russian Orthodox Church were vital due to a great number of Christian Orthodox pilgrims visiting Palestine. "The Holy Land is always at the center of our heart. This place is associated with key events of sacred history. That is why everything going on there attracts our close attention," the patriarch stressed.
After US President Donald Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017, the Palestinians refused to accept Washington as one of the parties to the negotiations with Israel arguing that the Middle East settlement currently needs a new international mechanism.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the pressing issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel insists that Jerusalem is its "eternal and indivisible" capital, whereas the Palestinians seek to make the city’s eastern part the capital of their future state.