"Good morning. How are you?”
"I am very glad to see you again.”
"Me too. You look younger. "
This affectionate greeting marked the start of the meeting between Pope Francis and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
They held a private 20 minute meeting and discussed the recent agreement in which the Vatican officially recognized the Palestinian state. Also covered was the peace process with Israel, the conflicts ravaging the Middle East, and the need to fight terrorism by promoting interfaith dialogue.
Then Abbas, who was accompanied by 11 people, presented his delegation to Pope Francis.
"May the greeting of the Lord be with you.”
The two also exchanged gifts. Abbas gave the Pope relics from the two Palestinian nuns who will be canonized Sunday morning. Using a translator, the mayor of Bethlehem described the gifts to Pope Francis.
"It's the rosary that Mary of Jesus Crucified used every day.”
Pope Francis gave Abbas a copy of 'Evangelii Gaudium' and an Angel of Peace medallion.
"I thought of you. You are an angel of peace.”
Tomorrow, Abbas will attend the canonization of the nuns Mariam Baouardy, also known as Mary of Jesus Crucified, and Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas. They will become the first Palestinian saints.
And this is how their meeting concluded.
"See you tomorrow, God willing. We will always be together because our mission is the same.”
"Pray for me.”
After his meeting with the Pope, Abbas then spoke with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.