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Pope Francis meets Palestinian President Abu Mazen

(Vatican Radio) The Holy See's Press Office has issued a statement regarding today's meeting between Pope Francis and Palestinian President Abu Mazen. The following is an English translation of that communique:

Today, 17 October 2013, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received
in audience Mahmoud Abbas, president of the State of Palestine, who subsequently went on to
meet with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, reference was made to the situation in the Middle East, and
in particular to the reinstatement of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. The Parties
expressed their hope that this process may bear fruit and enable a just and lasting solution to be
found to the conflict, an increasingly necessary and urgent objective. In this respect, hope was
expressed that the Parties to the conflict will make courageous and determined decisions in order
to promote peace, with the support of the international Community. Grave concerns remain,
however, regarding the situation in Syria, for which it is hoped that dialogue and reconciliation
may supplant the logic of violence as soon as possible.

With regard to bilateral relations, satisfaction was expressed for the progress made in the
elaboration of a Global Agreement on several essential aspects of the life and activity of the
Catholic Church in Palestine.

Finally, mention was made of the situation faced by Christian communities in the Palestinian
Territories, and in the Middle East in general, highlighting the significant contribution they offer
to the common good of society.

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