Israeli, Palestinian Leaders Accept Invitation to Vatican Peace Talks

World | May 25, 2014, Sunday // 17:28|  views

A handout picture provided by the Palestinian Presidential Guards shows Pope Francis touching the wall that separates Israel from the West Bank on his way to celebrate a mass in the Manger Square, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, 25 May 2014. Photo by

Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accepted on Sunday Pope Francis' invitation to both leaders pray for peace at the Vatican.

"In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace," the Pope said at an outdoor Mass in Bethlehem, according to reports of the CNN.

"I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer," Pope Francis said.

The offices of the Israeli and Palestinian presidents quickly confirmed that they had accepted the invitation and the Palestinians informed that the meeting would be held in June.

Pope Francis also called for "the acknowledgment by all of the right of two states to exist and to live in peace and security within internationally recognized borders."

The pontiff is in the Middle East for a three-day trip that will include his first visit to the Holy Land.

His three-day visit started on Saturday in Jordan.

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Tags: Pope Francis, Mahmoud Abbas, Shimon Peres, Vatican


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