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Pope meets Netanyahu; peace talks, papal pilgrimage top agenda

Catholic World News - December 02, 2013

After Pope Francis met on December 2 with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Vatican stressed the importance of resuming Israeli-Palestinian talks.

The Pope’s conversation with Netanyahu also touched on the broader situation in the Middle East, and the relations between the Israeli government and Catholic institutions in the Holy Land.

The Pope also spoke with the Israeli leader about his plan to visit Israel in 2014. The Vatican has not yet indicated when that visit will take place, but Israeli officials have suggested that May 25-26 are the most likely dates. As the Pope met informally with the Israeli delegation following his private session with the prime minister, Mrs. Netanyahu told him: “We are expecting you; we can’t wait.”

This was Netanyahu’s first meeting with Pope Francis. Plans for an earlier meeting, in October, were postponed because of scheduling conflicts at the Vatican.

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