Pope meets Abbas, calls for courage to reconcile

Agence France-Presse

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI received Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Monday, December 17, and called on all parties involved in the Middle East crisis to find the courage to work together for peace and reconciliation.

In a statement following the meeting, the Vatican said it hoped the United Nations’ recent recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state would “encourage the commitment of the international community to finding a fair and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Benedict and Abbas had talked about “the region, troubled by numerous conflicts, in the hope that the courage for reconciliation and peace will be found,” the Vatican said.

A solution “may be reached only by resuming negotiations between the parties in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both,” it said, adding that Abbas had also met with the Vatican’s number two and secretary of state, Tarcisio Bertone.

The Vatican, which favors a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians, was quick to hail the landmark New York vote at the end of November. – Agence France-Presse