Pope Benedict meets with Israeli president, renews call for peaceful coexistence with Palestinians


In a meeting with Israeli President Moshe Katsay earlier today, Pope Benedict stressed his continued desire for the peaceful co-existence and collaboration of Israel and Palestine, two independent states within the violence-wracked Holy Land.

Fr. Ciro Benedettini, C.P., who is vice director of the Holy See Press Office, told reporters this morning that, the president, accompanied by his wife and several collaborators, visited with the Holy Father before going on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano.

He said that during the papal meeting, special “attention was given to the relations that have developed between Israel and the Holy See, since the start of diplomatic ties between the two parties in 1994.”

"Particular consideration”, he noted, “was reserved for the implementation of the agreements thus-far signed between Israel and the Holy See: the Fundamental Agreement of 1993, and the Legal Personality Agreement of 1997.”

Moving on to the tense situation in the Holy Land, the Pope reiterated the Holy See's position favoring of the existence of and collaboration between the Israeli and Palestinian States.

At the end of the press conference, Fr. Benedettini noted that "a large part of the discussions were also given over to the possibility of more intense collaboration in the humanitarian field, especially in Africa, and in cultural matters."

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