Vatican City, 4 September 2014 (VIS) – Peace and the role of religions formed the central theme of the Pope's meeting with the ex-president of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres. During their long discussion, lasting around 45 minutes, in which Peres presented to the Pontiff his plan to create a sort of United Nations for religions, based on the assumption that while in the past the majority of wars were motivated by the idea of nationhood, in the current world the trigger for conflicts is primarily the excuse of religion. The Holy Father listened attentively and with interest to the Israeli ex-president's proposal, and the discussion took place in a very cordial atmosphere.
Similarly, peace and religion were the key point in the Holy Father's meeting with Prince El Hassan Bin Talal, of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The prince, founder of the “Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies”, presented the centre's activity to the Pope, emphasising the common ground shared by religions and the possibilities of collaboration in activities of solidarity with the least fortunate in a globalised world. The meeting, again of a cordial nature, lasted around half an hour.