30-April-2013 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pope Meets with President Shimon Peres of Israel

Discuss Concerns Regarding Current Political and Social Situation in the Middle East

VATICAN CITY, April 30, 2013 (Zenit.org) - Pope Francis met this morning with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Vatican Apostolic Palace. Shortly after, President Peres met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

The Holy Father and the Israeli Head of State spoke on various issues, particularly the current political and social situation in the Middle East.

In a communique released by the Holy See, both hoped for a "speedy resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians." The statement also said that with the availability of both sides in the conflict as well as support from the international community, "an agreement may be reached that respects the legitimate aspirations of the two Peoples, thus decisively contributing to the peace and stability of the region."

The Israeli president and Pope Francis expressed concern and worry for the current situation occurring in Syria, and hoped for a solution that "privileges the logic of reconciliation and dialogue."

The meeting concluded with both noting the progress that has been made regarding relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel, especially with regards to the Bilateral Working Commission. The Commission, the communique stated,"is preparing an agreement regarding issues of common interest" between the the Vatican and Israel.

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