.- Shimon Peres, former prime minister of Israel and 1994 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, met today at the Vatican with Pope Benedict XVI. The two discussed the difficult road to peace in the Middle East and jointly condemned all forms of terrorism, regardless of pretexts.
Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration to journalists late this morning:
In a statement released today, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that after meeting with the Holy Father, Mr. Peres “went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, in the presence of Oded Ben-Hur, Israeli ambassador to the Holy See, and Msgr. Pietro Parolin, under-secretary of the Section for Relations with States.”
"In the course of the discussions”, Navarro-Valls said, “opinions were exchanged concerning the problem of peace in the Holy Land while respecting United Nations Resolutions and the agreements concluded to date.”
“In this context,” he added, “there was a unanimous condemnation of all forms of terrorism, whatever pretexts used to try and justify it.”
The Vatican press director said that "Relations between the State of Israel and the Holy See were also examined, in the light of the agreements signed in 1993 and 1997, as were relations between the Israeli authorities and the Christian communities resident in the country.”
"At the end of the meeting,” he highlighted, “Shimon Peres, invited the Supreme Pontiff to visit Israel."