Pope Meets With Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

UN Non-Observer Status and Escalating Tensions in Region Discussed

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI received in audience Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, at the Vatican Apostolic Palace.

Shortly after, President Abbas met with the Pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

A communique released by the Holy See reported that the discussions that took place during the meeting focused in particular on the recent resolution approved by the United Nations General Assembly, whereby Palestine was recognized as a Non-member Observer State.

"It is hoped that this initiative will encourage the commitment of the international community to finding a fair and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which may be reached only by resuming negotiations between the Parties, in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both," the communique stated.

The current situation in the region, which has seen an escalation of violence in the past few months, was also discussed. The press release from the Holy See stated that it was its hope that "the courage for reconciliation and peace will be found."

"Finally, mention was made of the contribution Christian communities can offer to the common good in the Palestinian territories and throughout the Middle East," the communique concluded.