Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has inaugurated the Palestinian Embassy in the Vatican and held a meeting with Pope Francis last weekend. 

The embassy was inaugurated in Porta Angelica street in the Vatican, Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

Later Abbas and Pope Francis held a meeting behind closed doors which lasted 23 minutes.

“I met with His Holiness. The Vatican has fully recognized Palestine as an independent state, I hope that other states take their example from the Holy See,” Abbas later told journalists.


In a statement, the Vatican said their conversation “turned to the peace process in the Middle East, and hope was expressed that direct negotiations between the parties will be resumed to bring an end to the violence that causes unacceptable suffering to civilian populations, and to find a just and lasting solution.”

The Vatican statement concluded: “It is hoped that, with the support of the international community, measures can be taken that favor mutual trust and contribute to creating a climate that permits courageous decisions to be made in favor of peace.”

In his own statement, Abbas said the conversation also addressed the situation of Jerusalem, which Abbas referred to as “the capital of the State of Palestine.” He said he and Francis “reaffirmed the importance of the city for the three monotheistic religions, and our support for Jerusalem being an open city.”

Vatican officially recognized a state of Palestine in May 2015, despite opposition from Israel, which said that it would damage prospects for peace in the region. Days after the Pontiff met Abbas in the Vatican, and said he was “an angel of peace” who would destroy a “spirit of war.”

In January 2016, the Vatican announced that a “comprehensive agreement” with the “State of Palestine” signed in June 2015 had come into force. Vatican referred to Palestine as “a state,” giving it full recognition as an equal partner.

Source: RT / JPost