.- Pope Benedict XVI's trip to the Holy Land is now just over a week away, and as it approaches, the Vatican is seeking to bolster ties with Muslim nations in the region.
The Pope's trip will begin with a visit to Jordan on May 8, followed by a trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
This past Friday, Benedict XVI received the secretary general of the League of Arab Nations, Amr Mousa, after signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the League and the Holy See.
A Vatican communiqué said, "The agreement further consolidates the existing ties of collaboration between the Holy See and the League of Arab States, especially at a political and cultural level, in favor of peace, security and stability, both regionally and internationally."
"Furthermore," the statement said, "it proposes instruments for consultation between the two sides, with particular emphasis on initiatives of inter-religious dialogue."
The Arab League, was formed in Cairo in 1945 by Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan and Yemen. The League’s mission at the Holy See is headed by Walid Al Gargani.