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    Pope, Peres and Abbas hold Vatican prayer meeting for peace

    euronews (in English)

    by euronews (in English)

    Pope Francis has welcomed Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to the Vatican for an unprecedented prayer meeting, amid hopes it could help the Middle East finally find peace.

    Church officials are playing down any expectations of an immediate breakthrough, describing the event as a chance for “politicians to pause and look heavenward”.

    The surprise invitation, made by Francis during his visit to the Holy Land last month, is one of his boldest political gestures yet.

    He and the two presidents will read invocations for peace, shake hands and plant an olive tree in the Vatican gardens at a service including prayers and meditations by Jews, Christians and Muslims.