VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas thanked Pope Francis for his support of the country’s new embassy to the Holy See.
“This is a sign that the pope loves the Palestinian people and loves peace,” Abbas told the pope Jan. 14 before heading to the inauguration of the Palestinian embassy to the Holy See in Rome.
The pope welcomed Abbas with open arms, embracing the president and saying, “It is a pleasure to welcome you here.”
“I am also happy to be here,” Abbas replied.
The Vatican said the two leaders spoke privately of the contribution of Catholics in Palestine and their “promotion of human dignity and assistance for those most in need, especially in the fields of education, health and aid.”
The pope and Abbas also discussed the peace process and expressed hope that “direct negotiations between the parties may be resumed to bring an end to the violence” and to find “a just and lasting solution.”
“To this end, it is hoped that — with the support of the international community — measures can be taken that favor mutual trust and contribute to creating a climate that permits courageous decisions to be made in favor of peace,” the Vatican said.
The protection of holy sites “for believers of all three of the Abrahamic religions” was also discussed, the statement said.
After the pope and president spent more than 20 minutes speaking in private, Abbas introduced Pope Francis to the Palestinian officials traveling with him.
Credit to franciscanmedia.org