Vatican City, 16 May 2015 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father Francis received in audience Mahmoud Abbas, president of the State of Palestine, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States. President Abbas will attend tomorrow’s canonisation of the two Palestinian nuns, for which he thanked the Holy Father.
During the cordial discussions, great satisfaction was expressed for the accord reached on the text of a comprehensive Agreement between the Parties on various essential aspects of the life and the activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine, to be signed in the near future.
Attention then turned to the peace process with Israel, and the hope was expressed that direct negotiations between the Parties be resumed in order to find a just and lasting solution to the conflict. To this end the wish was reiterated that, with the support of the international Community, Israelis and Palestinians may take with determination courageous decisions to promote peace. Finally, with reference to the conflicts that afflict the Middle East, and in reaffirming the importance of combating terrorism, the need for interreligious dialogue was underlined.