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Pope tells Abbas of hope for Mideast solution after UN vote
Published Monday 17/12/2012 (updated) 18/12/2012 18:43
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Pope Benedict XVI attends during his pastoral visit to St. Patrick Church
on the outskirts of Rome Dec. 16. (Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi)
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) -- Pope Benedict told President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday the Vatican hoped the recent de facto recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations would spur the international community to find a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Abbas, who is on a tour of Europe to thank countries that supported the Nov. 29 resolution by the UN General Assembly recognizing Palestine, held private talks with the pope for about 25 minutes in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

"It is hoped that (the resolution) will encourage the commitment of the international community to finding a fair and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which may be reached only by resuming negotiations between the parties, in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both," a Vatican statement said.

The 193-nation General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's observer status at the United Nations from "entity" to "non-member state," the same status as the Vatican..

The Vatican welcomed the resolution, which amounted to an implicit recognition of a Palestinian state.

But at the time the Holy See also renewed its call for an internationally guaranteed special status for Jerusalem, something which Israel rejects.

Israel captured East Jerusalem - along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip - in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. Israel now regards Jerusalem as its "united and eternal" capital.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a state they seek in the West Bank and Gaza and agree with the Vatican that the city needs international guarantees.

Israel has always maintained that it already guarantees Jerusalem's special nature as sacred to the three great monotheistic religions - Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

The Vatican said the pope and Abbas also discussed the "situation in the region, troubled by numerous conflicts," which was seen as a clear reference to the civil war in Syria.

Abbas was also meeting Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Pier Luigi Bersani, the head of the Democratic Party, which is widely expected to win national elections early next year.

Italy's center-left has traditionally supported Palestinians while the center-right has been closer to Israel.
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1 ) Tibi / Tubas
17/12/2012 17:42
The Pope should tell Abbas to STOP HOPING, for Mideast solution after UN vote, and START PRAYING, OR START NEGOTIATING, since there is no other way !!!


2 ) Reader / from Edmonton
17/12/2012 18:01
Most Holy Father, please pray for the return of our dear friends to their home in Palestine. In particular, please pray for the safety of those in danger in war zones and other hostile areas.

3 ) Rabin ehud / Alquds
17/12/2012 18:21
Hahahaha The pope should tell abbas that israeli occupation is only fooling the world By stealing land and killing anyone who says other I say there is no peace, because zionists always break it. Zionists are troublemakers and hypocrits Thats why europe had a zionist problem and then thru it on the middle east Palestinian holocaust in the making

4 ) Papa / Crappa
18/12/2012 00:05
The only thing he's interested in is taking control of Jerusalem. He will use and abuse any and all to achieve that goal.

5 ) SHIRLEY / AUSTARALIA
18/12/2012 00:24
the pope is being niave and does not want trouble he knows full well Isreal will not go willingly and REUTERS AGAIN USING DEFACTO STATE to describe THE STATE OF PALESTINE shows the hypocrcy and deceit of this ZIONIST newspaper and there is nothing to discuss only get illegal settlements out of THE STATE OF PALESTINE their is no final agreements OUT FIRSTWANT EAST JERUSALEM THEY GOT IT DAMM YOU MAAN NEWS YOU SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH SEDITION POSTING THIS PROPAGANDA WAS SWITERLAND A EUROPE FANTASY

6 ) JoeFattal / USA
18/12/2012 21:28
The Pope should stick on saving souls and leave politics to politicians.

7 ) ian / australia
20/12/2012 00:24
Pathetic. All the Pope can come up with is "resume negotiations", the tired mantra guaranteeing failure. All I see is Joseph Ratzinger passively accommodating ANOTHER fascist regime, like he did as a teenager. Too harsh? His "hope" for peace is glib and empty because he's not willing to use his position to do or say ANYTHING that might actually bring it about. Making it clear he couldn't care less. The Palestinians are weak and the Jews are strong (and of course the Church has special "history"

8 ) ian / australia
20/12/2012 00:26
(cont.) with the Jews) so it's the deceitful Israeli line he adopts. At least "...an internationally guaranteed special status for Jerusalem" is a bold proposal based on self-interest (so it's not a lie...not like his "hope"). The Palestinians would probably accept it, if it was reasonable but the stumbling block, as always, is Israel which won't for a moment consider the idea of sharing control of "their" eternal and undivided Capital with ANYONE. The Pope's acquiescence in this illegal and

9 ) ian / australia
20/12/2012 00:27
(condt.) immoral endeavour, all under the guise of religion, is disgraceful.
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