Seemingly caught in the midst of the current Middle East crisis, Jordans King Abdullah II and his wife, Queen Rania, met with Pope Francis for a brief audience at the Vatican. The audience lasted about 20 minutes. Both leaders spoke about how to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East, but especially in Syria.
They also addressed other matters, like the peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine, as well as the status of Jerusalem.
Pope Francis and the Jordanian monarchs agreed that dialogue between all the factions of Syrian society, and with the support of the international community, is the only way to put an end to the violence.
The audience was very cordial, and the Pope used the time to thank King Abdullah for his commitment to fostering inter-religious dialogue. The Jordanian king called a conference in September at his capital, Amman, about the challenges Christians face in the Middle East.
Queen Rania attended the audience wearing a white veil, a privilege usually reserved for Catholic royals.
This was the first meeting between the Jordanian monarchs and Pope Francis. Before then, in 2009, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania had welcomed Benedict XVI in Amman, during the Pope emeritus' apostolic trip to the Holy Land.