[QODLink]
Middle East

Pope and Middle East leaders pray for peace

Francis says Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas must respond to yearning for peace, after joint prayer meeting at Vatican.

Last updated: 09 Jun 2014 11:35
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Pope Francis has told the Israeli and Palestinian presidents that they "must respond" to their people's yearning for peace in the Middle East and find "the strength to persevere in undaunted dialogue".

The pope made his appeal on Sunday to Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas during a prayer meeting among Jews, Christians and Muslims at the Vatican.

"Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare," he said. "Instil in our hearts the courage to take concrete steps to achieve peace."

It is within our power to bring peace to our children. This is our duty.

Shimon Peres, Israeli president .

Abbas asked God to "bring comprehensive and just peace to our country and region so that our people and the peoples of the Middle East and the whole world would enjoy the fruit of peace, stability and coexistence".

Peres said: "It is within our power to bring peace to our children. This is our duty, the holy mission of parents."

Francis said he hoped the prayer meeting would mark "a new journey" towards peace in the Middle East.

The session, in the Vatican gardens, marked the first time the two presidents have met in public in more than a year.

The meeting was arranged on the second day of Francis' visit to the Holy Land last month, where he called for Palestinians and Israelis to work together, saying a breakdown in talks was "unacceptable".

The prayers from the world's three main monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, focus on three themes: "creation", "invocation for forgiveness" and "invocation for peace."

The meeting is taking place more than a month after Israel suspended US-brokered talks with the Palestinians after the announcement that Hamas and Fatah would create a new consensus government.

Israel approved tens of thousands of new settler homes in the occupied West Bank during the talks.

313

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.