Pope Francis Calls for New Peace Talks After Meeting Mahmoud Abbas by the Forward

Pope Francis Calls for New Peace Talks After Meeting Mahmoud Abbas

ROME (JTA) – Pope Francis and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for renewed direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority during a meeting at the Vatican.

Abbas warned against moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, telling reporters: “If this is the decision, to transfer the embassy to Jerusalem, it will not help peace and we hope it doesn’t happen.”

The meeting Saturday at the Vatican took place a day before Sunday’s international peace conference in Paris on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The pope hosted Abbas at a private audience ahead of the official inauguration of a Palestinian embassy to the Holy See.

The Vatican recognized Palestine as a state in 2015.

The Vatican said in a statement that the discussions between the Pope and Abbas were “cordial.”

“Hope was expressed that direct negotiations between the parties may be resumed to bring an end to the violence that causes unacceptable suffering to civilian populations, and to find a just and lasting solution,” the Vatican statement said.

The statement also said: “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.” It added, “Emphasis was placed on the importance of safeguarding the sanctity of the Holy Places for believers of all three of the Abrahamic religions.”

In a separate statement, Abbas called Jerusalem “the capital of the State of Palestine,” and said that he and the pope had also reaffirmed their “support for Jerusalem being an open city.”

Pope Francis Calls for New Peace Talks After Meeting Mahmoud Abbas

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Pope Francis Calls for New Peace Talks After Meeting Mahmoud Abbas

Thank you!

This article has been sent!