Vatican City, 17 October 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father Francis received in audience Mahmoud Abbas, president of the State of Palestine, who subsequently went on to meet with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
During the cordial discussions, reference was made to the situation in the Middle East, and in particular to the reinstatement of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. The Parties expressed their hope that this process may bear fruit and enable a just and lasting solution to be found to the conflict, an increasingly necessary and urgent objective. In this respect, hope was expressed that the Parties to the conflict will make courageous and determined decisions in order to promote peace, with the support of the international Community. Grave concerns remain, however, regarding the situation in Syria, for which it is hoped that dialogue and reconciliation may supplant the logic of violence as soon as possible.
With regard to bilateral relations, satisfaction was expressed for the progress made in the elaboration of a Global Agreement on several essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine.
Finally, mention was made of the situation faced by Christian communities in the Palestinian Territories, and in the Middle East in general, highlighting the significant contribution they offer to the common good of society.