ABBAS, PERES READY FOR VATICAN PRAYER

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VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis hosts an unprecedented joint peace prayer in the Vatican on Sunday with the Israeli and Palestinian presidents in a bid to overcome decades of mistrust even as tensions flare up over plans for new Jewish settlements. Francis invited the two leaders unexpectedly during his trip to the Middle East last month but has stressed the initiative is purely spiritual and is not part of an attempt by the Vatican to mediate in the conflict. “This prayer meeting will not be for mediation or to find solutions. We are just meeting up to pray. Then everyone goes home,” the Argentine pontiff told journalists during an impromptu press conference on the flight back to Rome. “Praying together without any talks could help,” he said, after US-led peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators collapsed in bitter recriminations in April.

AFP

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