The Orthodox Patriarchs of Jerusalem, as well as the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, have requested the opportunity to present their arguments on the future status of the Holy City.
    Jerusalem is regarded as a Holy City by all three faiths, Christian, Muslim and Jewish.
    During the recent Camp David peace talks, the Christian leaders sent letters to US President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, asking that the Christian community be kept in mind during the Camp David negotiations and in future agreements.
    Fr Raed Abusahlia, secretary of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, explained on Vatican Radio that the Patriarchs have additional requests.
    He said: "Christians of the Holy Land and Jerusalem should be considered as a human and geographic whole, the division of the ancient city of Jerusalem and its environs not be accepted... In the second place, they ask that the future of Jerusalem be based on a special statute guaranteed internationally to respect free access to Holy Places by Christians, Muslims, and Jews of the country, including tourists and pilgrims."
    Zenit (available soon)
21 July 00

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