Pope Francis listens to Israel's President Reuven Rivlin as they exchange gifts during a private audience in the Pontiff's private library at the Vatican

ANSA - EPA/TONY GENTILE

Pope Meets President of Israel

Discussions Focused on Political, Social Situation in Middle East

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The Pope and president of Israel believe promoting “a climate of trust” between Israelis and Palestinians is needed and time sensitive. This was conveyed in a communique released by the Holy See Press Office today following Pope Francis’ meeting with the president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, this morning in the Vatican.

The discussions, which the statement described as “cordial,” were said to focus on the political and social situation in the Middle East, and gave special attention to the condition of Christians and other minority groups.  Given this, it stated, the importance of interreligious dialogue was recognized, along with “the responsibility of religious leaders in promoting reconciliation and peace.”

“The need and urgency of promoting a climate of trust between Israelis and Palestinians was highlighted, alongside the resumption of direct negotiations with the aim of reaching an agreement respecting the legitimate aspirations of the two populations, as a fundamental contribution to peace and stability in the region,” it stated.

The statement noted that the parties considered various issues regarding the relations between the State of Israel and the Holy See, and between state authorities and local Catholic communities. It added that they also expressed their hope that the bilateral agreement currently being drafted be concluded promptly, and that an adequate solution be found for various matters of common interest, including the situation of Christian schools in the country.

The Israeli president subsequently met with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher.  (D.C.L.)

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