Vatican renews call for 2-state solution to Mideast conflict

Pope Francis, right, welcomes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a private audience at the Vatican, Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, Pool)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican has reaffirmed its longstanding call for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict following a visit by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, as the U.S. says it is preparing to present its long-awaited peace plan.

Abbas met for 20 minutes Monday with Pope Francis and then the Vatican foreign minister, Monsignor Paul Gallagher.

The Vatican said the talks focused on efforts to reactivate the peace process “and to reach a two-state solution, hoping for a renewed commitment on the part of the international community to meet the legitimate aspirations of both peoples.”

A Vatican statement said Jerusalem must remain a holy city for Christians, Muslims and Jews.

It was the first visit by Abbas since the U.S. transferred its embassy and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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