Jerusalem should be shared capital of Israel and Palestine, Boris Johnson says

Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of Israeli and Palestinian states, the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has told his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Malki.

Johnson said via a statement from the Foreign Office today: 'I reiterated the UK's commitment to supporting the Palestinian people and the two-state solution, the urgent need for renewed peace negotiations, and the UK's clear and longstanding position on the status of Jerusalem.

'It should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states.'

The comments come in the wake of Donald Trump's announcement in December that the US unilaterally recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Trump's move was highly controversial around the world and led Pope Francis to say at the time, 'I cannot keep silent my deep concern' over the issue.

Today, on the same day as Johnson's separate comments, which risk angering the Israelis and the Trump administration, Pope Francis again spoke out on the issue and reiterated the need for the preservation of the old 'status quo' in a shared Jerusalem when he addressed international diplomats.

'I think in particular of Israelis and Palestinians, in the wake of the tensions of recent weeks,' the Pope said.

'The Holy See, while expressing sorrow for the loss of life in recent clashes, renews its pressing appeal that every initiative be carefully weighed so as to avoid exacerbating hostilities, and calls for a common commitment to respect, in conformity with the relevant United Nations Resolutions, the status quo of Jerusalem, a city sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims.

'Seventy years of confrontation make more urgent than ever the need for a political solution that allows the presence in the region of two independent states within internationally recognised borders. Despite the difficulties, a willingness to engage in dialogue and to resume negotiations remains the clearest way to achieving at last a peaceful coexistence between the two peoples.'