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Vatican joins global criticism of U.S.’ U-turn on Israeli settlements

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The Vatican on Thursday added its voice to the global chorus of criticism of the U.S. decision to no longer consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal.

A statement pointed to the U.S. stance by referring to “recent decisions that risk undermining further the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the already fragile regional stability.”

In that context, “the Holy See reiterates its position of a two-state solution for two peoples, as the only way to reach a complete solution to this age-old conflict,” the statement said.

It added: “The Holy See supports the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security within the borders recognised by the international community and supports the same right that belongs to the Palestinian people, which must be recognised, respected and implemented.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the change in policy on Monday, one of several pro-Israel moves by the Trump administration, including the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognition of Israel’s claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

There are more than 600,000 Israelis living in more than 200 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

With the expansion of settlements, Palestinians see the chances of finding a two-state solution dimming, as they want these areas for a future state.

(Edited by Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN))

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