Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited the Vatican Saturday before inaugurating his country’s new embassy to the Holy See. He met with Pope Francis to discuss peace efforts in the Middle East. The Vatican and the Palestinians have relations characterized as good. They were “sealed” by a “Global Agreement” made between them in 2015, in which the Vatican officially recognized the Palestinian state in support of a two state solution to the ongoing conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
The discussion expressed hope that direct negotiations between the different 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.”
“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,” said a Vatican communiqué.
The discussion also emphasized the Vatican concern about “safeguarding the sanctity” of Holy Sites, which are frequently a source of division and conflict between the different faiths in the area.
As usual for diplomatic visits, Abbas then met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.
In his Jan. 9 speech to the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See Pope Francis continued to support a two-state solution and appealed for dialogue aimed at “a stable and enduring solution that guarantees the peaceful coexistence of two States within internationally recognized borders.”
“No conflict can become a habit impossible to break,” the pope said in a speech to Vatican diplomats on January 9. “Israelis and Palestinians need peace. The whole Middle East urgently needs peace!”
“And all the world wondered…” Revelation 13:3.