Pope Francis has called for dialogue that respects the rights of everyone in the Holy Land and expressed his hope for “peace and prosperity” for the Palestinian people.

His intervention comes ahead of the expected announcement that the United States will recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The Pope made his comments on Wednesday during a previously scheduled meeting with a Palestinian delegation of religious and intellectual leaders.

The Vatican says it was coincidental that the audience fell on the same day as the US announcement.

In his remarks, Pope Francis said the Holy Land was the “land par excellence of dialogue between God and mankind”.

He said: “The primary condition of that dialogue is reciprocal respect and a commitment to strengthening that respect, for the sake of recognising the rights of all people, wherever they happen to be.”