Palestinian President to Pope: I hope to sign a peace agreement with Israel
Surrounded by Swiss Guards, the president of the State of Palestine, walked inside the Vaticans Apostolic Palace. The cameras started flickering away when Mahmoud Abbas walked in. With the help of a translator, he introduced himself to Pope Francis.
MAHMOUD ABBAS President, State of Palestine "I'm very happy to meet you for the very first time Your Holiness. I'm honored to be here at the Vatican.â?
POPE FRANCIS "I feel honored. I hope you feel at home.â?
Their meeting lasted about 30 minutes. Their conversations included some laughs. But they also talked about more serious matters, like the violent tension between Israel and Palestine and the challenges Christians face in that region, as a marginalized minority. The Pope then highlighted that Israelis, Palestinians and the international community must make courageous decisions to actually achieve peace. Now that negotiations between Israel and Palestine are back on the table, hope for peace was directly implied when the Pope exchanged gifts with Abbas.
POPE FRANCIS "As a gift, here's a pen. I'm sure you have plenty of documents to sign.â?
MAHMOUD ABBAS President, State of Palestine "I hope to use this pen to sign a peace accord with Israel. Let's hope.â?
POPE FRANCIS Yes, Soon!
The gifts included a tiled image of Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity with the words 'City of Peace.' The Pope was also given the first Bible to be published in Palestine.
Despite the fact that it was their first official greeting, the Pope told the president some moving words as their meeting came to a close.
POPE FRANICS "When a man of peace comes to visit, he brings us God's blessing.â?
Even though it's not official yet, in the past, Pope Francis has said he'd like to visit the Holy Land next year.
KLH CTV -JM -BN Up:KLH