VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has met with Pope Benedict XVI to thank him for supporting the recent U.N. resolution recognizing a Palestinian state.
Abbas chatted privately with Benedict for 25 minutes Monday and then met with the Vatican's top diplomats. Abbas gave Benedict a mosaic of the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, with the inscription saying it was presented by the "President of the state of Palestine."
The Vatican said the discussions referred to the Nov. 29 U.N. vote upgrading the Palestinians to the same status as the Holy See: nonmember state observer. The Vatican had warmly welcomed the vote, and a Vatican statement said "it is hoped that this initiative will encourage the commitment of the international community to finding a fair and lasting solution" to the conflict.