The Pope and PA President Abbas held a meeting this week with Pope Francis for about 20 minutes.

In a statement released after their meeting, the Vatican said the two leaders focused on “efforts to reactivate the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, and to reach a two-state solution, hoping for a renewed commitment on the part of the international community to meet the legitimate aspirations of both peoples.”

Pope Francis and Abbas also discussed the status of Jerusalem and underlined “the importance of recognizing and preserving its identity and the universal value of the holy city for the three Abrahamic religions.”

When the meeting of the Pope with Abbas ended, the Palestinian leader said: “We count on you”, without giving more details.

It was the first meeting between Pope Francis and Abbas since the United States transferred it’s embassy and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.T

 

The leader of the Catholic Church had expressed strong opposition to Trump’s decision a year ago to move the US embassy to Jerusalen,  In a February letter to Egypt’s leading Muslim cleric, Ahmed al-Tayeb, he said that “only a special status, guaranteed by the international community, can preserve the identity of Jerusalem and a unique vocation as a place of peace” .

The Vatican has informally recognized Palestine as a state since November 2012, following a United Nations vote that recognized it as a non-member observer state. Furthermore, Pope Francis referred to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as the “President of Palestine” during the Holy Father’s 2014 Holy Land pilgrimage.

But it was not until June 2015 that the Vatican signed a treaty, known as the “Global Agreement,” that acknowledged the “State of Palestine” as an official entity.