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In meeting with Abbas, pope urges resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (L) is welcomed by Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza (R), Regent of the Prefecture of the Papal Household, as he arrives at the San Damaso courtyard for a meeting with the Pope at the Apostolic Palace on November 4, 2021 in Vatican. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (L) is welcomed by Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza (R), Regent of the Prefecture of the Papal Household, as he arrives at the San Damaso courtyard for a meeting with the Pope at the Apostolic Palace on November 4, 2021 in Vatican. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

VATICAN CITY — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas holds a private audience with Pope Francis and with top Vatican officials, who emphasized the importance of resuming peace talks with Israel.

The Vatican says that “it was stressed that it is absolutely necessary to reactivate direct dialogue in order to achieve a two-state solution, also with the help of more vigorous effort on the part of the international community.”

It also “reiterated 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 all three Abrahamic religions.”

Abbas and the pope also exchange gifts and then hold hands as Abbas wishes the pope good health and strength going forward, according to footage released by the Vatican.

During his trip, Abbas also met with Italian Prime Minister Draghi and the country’s head of state, President Sergio Mattarella.

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