Pope John Paul II has urged that Jerusalem be governed under international protection, claiming that only special status could guarantee religious freedoms there.
    The Pope, speaking in his weekly Sunday address to pilgrims in St Peter's Square, said he was following the US-sponsored talks at Camp David between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in his prayers.
    "I hope that they are always driven by a sincere desire for respect and for justice for all and for reaching a just and lasting peace," he said.
    "At the same time, I want to ask all the parties not to neglect the importance of the spiritual dimension of the city of Jerusalem, with its sacred places and the community of three monotheistic religions that surround them."
    The Pope added: "The Holy See persists in maintaining that only a special statute internationally guaranteed can effectively preserve the most sacred areas of the Holy City and assure liberty of the faiths and of religion for all the faithful that, in the region and the entire world, look to Jerusalem as a crossroads of peace and of co-existence."
25 July 00

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