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Pope to meet with Palestinian leader

Pope John Paul II will meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas later this month aat his summer residence outside Rome, Palestinian officials said yesterday.

Vatican officials confirmed that the Holy Father and Abbas would hold talks but did not give details.

The Pope, who has made numerous appeals for an to end the Mideast conflict, has met several times with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. But the 26 August meeting would be the first talks between the pope and the new Palestinian prime minister.

Abbas will hold talks a day earlier in Rome with Premier Silvio Berlusconi, Hammad said. On the agenda will be discussion about the possibility of a visit by Berlusconi to the Palestinian territories, Hammad said.

Peace efforts have appeared stalled despite a Palestinian militant cease-fire that has brought a reduction of bloodshed after three years of violence.


Archbishop says uncompromising Pope saved Muslim-Christian relations (Catholic News Service)
Vatican official has high hopes for Middle East Peace Summit (6/6/03)
Pope spells out Mideast peace wish list (3/6/03)

12 Aug 2003