Pope Francis meets Israeli President in the Vatican
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin in the Vatican on Thursday (3rd August) and held talks that focused on the situation in the Middle East and bilateral relations.
A statement was issued afterwards by the Holy See’s Press Office which said that in addition to meeting Pope Francis, the Israeli Head of State also held talks afterwards with the (Vatican) Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, accompanied by the Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher.
It said during the “cordial discussions” the two parties discussed “the political and social situation in the Middle East plagued by various conflicts, paying particular attention to the situation concerning Christians and other minority groups.” They also stressed “the importance of interreligious dialogue and the responsibility of religious leaders to promote reconciliation and peace.”
The statement went on to say that the talks covered “the need and the urgency to promote a climate of trust between Israelis and Palestinians and to restart direct negotiations to reach an accord that respects the legitimate aspirations of the two Peoples, as a fundamental contribution to peace and stability in the region.”
Finally, the statement also said that the two parties held discussions on “several questions concerning relations between the State of Israel and the Holy See and between the state authorities and the local Catholic community, and expressed the hope for a speedy conclusion of the Bilateral Accord that is currently being drawn up and for an appropriate solution to several questions of common interest including that regarding Christians schools in the nation.”