Pope Francis received Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Vatican and formally inaugurated the new Embassy of the State of Palestine to the Holy See.
The new Palestinian embassy, said Abbas, “is a sign that the Pope loves the Palestinian people and peace.” The Vatican recognized the state of Palestine about a year and a half ago. Abbas also said that he hopes “other states will follow the Holy See’s example…We are proud to be the birthplace of Christianity and about having one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.”
The Holy See began referring to Palestine as a “state” as of November 2012, when the United Nations voted to recognize it as a nonmember observer state, but only formally recognized Palestinian statehood in a legal document in May of 2015. The Holy See established formal diplomatic relations with the State of Israel in 1993, and early the next year the Vatican set up a nunciature in Israel and an Israel established an embassy to the Holy See.
In his yearly address to the diplomatic corps over a week ago, Pope Francis launched an appeal for peace in the Middle East, specifically summoning “Israelis and Palestinians” to resume talks aimed at finding “a stable and enduring solution” to conflicts.
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