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Pope affirms support for two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Pope Francis affirmed his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Thursday.

The need for peaceful coexistence among various faiths, as well as the goal of a two-state solution in the Holy Land were discussed during a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the spiritual leader of the Catholic world, according to the official Vatican News agency.

Abbas and the pope agreed it is necessary to reactivate direct talks between Palestine and Israel to achieve a two-state solution, with the help of more vigorous efforts by the international community.

They also noted that “Jerusalem must be recognized by all as a place of encounter and not of conflict, and that its status must preserve its identity and universal value as a Holy City for all the three Abrahamic religions, also through a special internationally guaranteed status.”

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, a move never recognized by the international community. Al-Aqsa is the third holiest site for Muslims.

The two leaders then spoke about the “urgency of working for peace, avoiding the use of weapons, and combating all forms of extremism and fundamentalism,” according to Vatican News.

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