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Rome Reports

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President of Palestine meets with the Pope as new settlements are built in the West Bank

This was the fourth time President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine met with Pope Francis.

Their meeting lasted 50 minutes.

In a communiqué, the Vatican summed up its position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

First, the Holy See asks to promote fraternity and peaceful coexistence among different religions.

It also stresses the need to reactivate direct dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians to achieve the so-called two-state solution.

Third, it says that “Jerusalem must be recognized by all as a place of encounter and not of conflict, and that its status must preserve its identity and universal value as a Holy City” for the three largest monotheistic religions.

The Vatican also reported that the parties spoke about “avoiding the use of weapons and combating all forms of extremism” in order build peace.

Peace is the message captured in this bronze plaque that the Pope gave to the President. The inscription reads, “Let us fill our hands with other hands.”

President Mahmoud Abbas gave Pope Francis a painting of the site venerated as Jesus' birthplace, and a book about the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

The Palestinian President's visit to the Vatican is part of his trip to ask the international community for support in light of the Israeli government's decision to build new settlements in the West Bank.