Vatican renews call for 2-state solution to Mideast conflict

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Pope Francis speaks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the end of a private audience at the Vatican, on Dec. 3, 2018. (AFP)
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Dec. 3, 2018. (Vatican Media/Handout via Reuters)
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Dec. 3, 2018. (Vatican Media/Handout via Reuters)
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Dec. 3, 2018. (Vatican Media/Handout via Reuters)
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Pope Francis speaks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the end of a private audience at the Vatican, on Dec. 3, 2018. (AFP)
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Pope Francis speaks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the end of a private audience at the Vatican, on Dec. 3, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2018
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Vatican renews call for 2-state solution to Mideast conflict

  • The Vatican has reaffirmed its longstanding call for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • A Vatican statement said Jerusalem must remain a holy city for Christians, Muslims and Jews.

VATICAN CITY: The Vatican expressed concern over the status of Jerusalem on Monday as Pope Francis and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held their first meeting since the United States stirred international anxiety by moving its embassy there.
The two embraced and kissed on the cheek as the pontiff welcomed Abbas to a library in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace for a private, 20-minute meeting.
“Particular attention was reserved for the status of Jerusalem, underlining the importance of recognizing and preserving its identity and the universal value of the holy City for the three Abrahamic religions,” a Vatican statement said, referring to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
US President Donald Trump outraged the Arab world and the international community last year when he reversed decades of policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and put Washington’s embassy there. It was opened in May.
Palestinians, with broad international backing, want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state, while Israel views the whole city its “united and eternal” capital.
The Vatican expressed concern last year at Trump’s move, saying the city’s “status quo” should be respected. Francis has called for all to honor UN resolutions on the city.
The official Palestinian news agency WAFA said Abbas briefed the pope on “the implications of the US decision.”
As Abbas was leaving the library, he told the pope: “We are counting on you.” It was not clear what he was referring to.
The Vatican backs a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with both sides agreeing on the status of Jerusalem as part of the peace process.
The statement said Abbas and the pope also discussed efforts to reactivate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and hoped for “a renewed commitment on the part of the international community to meet the legitimate aspirations of both peoples.”
They also urged an end to “extremism and fundamentalism” in the Middle East, and called for reconciliation among Palestinian factions.


NZ’s foreign minister arrives in Turkey for Muslim summit

Updated 42 min 2 sec ago
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NZ’s foreign minister arrives in Turkey for Muslim summit

  • The meeting comes days after the deadly terrorist attack at two mosques in New Zealand
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will also speak at the summit

ISTANBUL: New Zealand’s deputy prime minister is attending an emergency session of an umbrella organization of Muslim nations in Turkey after a gunman killed 50 people in two mosques in the South Pacific nation.
Winston Peters was in Istanbul on Friday for the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s executive committee meeting.
Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant was arrested and charged with murder. Tarrant livestreamed the attack and released a manifesto describing his white supremacist views and how he planned the shootings.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who will also speak at the summit, has sparked outrage abroad by screening at campaign rallies excerpts of the Tarrant’s video to denounce Islamophobia. New Zealand has been trying to prevent the use of the video and Peters is expected to take up the issue.