Abbas thanks Pope for support in UN bid
Pope Benedict (R) welcomes Palestinian President Abbas in Vatican. Abbas is on a tour of Europe to thank countries that supported his country’s UN bid. REUTERS photoPalestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Pope Benedict XVI yesterday, after obtaining an upgrade in status at the United Nations to non-member observer state, the same as the Vatican.
Abbas, who is on a tour of Europe to thank countries that supported the Nov. 29 resolution by the U.N. recognizing Palestine, held private talks with the Pope in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. Pope told Abbas the Vatican hoped the recent recognition of Palestinian statehood at the U.N. would spur the international community to find a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Reuters reported. “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. 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.