The Middle East peace process and the papal visit to the Holy Land were the focus of a meeting between John Paul II and the new king of Jordan, Abdala II, which took place on Sunday in the Pope's Castel Gandolfo summer residence.
    During the discussions, which were described as "cordial" by the Holy See's spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, John Paul II referred to "the various meetings he had with King Hussein, the sovereign's father."
    The conversation turned to the "new positive climate for the peace process, which followed the signing of the Sharm El-Sheikh" agreements, the Vatican spokesman added. The Pope "wished to express to the King his desire to visit several biblical places in the Middle East."
    Jordanian officials said the monarch was anxious to know if Jordan was included on the itinerary of this pilgrimage, announced by the Pontiff himself at the end of June. For the time being, the Vatican has not confirmed a stop by the Holy Father on Jordanian territory during his pilgrimage. According to declarations by the Vatican Nuncio in Jerusalem, the papal visit to the Holy Land will take place in March.
    Zenit (available soon) 11:44am 21/9/99

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