Pope meets Abbas, backs Palestinian state

The Vatican says a Palestinian state must “soon” live side by side in peace and security with Israel.

The Vatican issued the statement June 3 after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Pope Benedict XVI and other Vatican officials.

During the meetings, the two sides discussed the need to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and recognize the “legitimate” rights of Palestinians to a homeland. The Vatican said “that soon the state of Israel and the Palestinian state must live in security, at peace with their neighbors and within internationally recognized borders.”

The Vatican has long supported a Palestinian state. The Vatican said it had to be done “soon” as the Palestinians mobilize support for recognition as an independent state in September. — jta