Pope Benedict XVI met Thursday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican and asked about his encounter last month with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in New York.
Benedict greeted Abbas in the Apostolic Palace, and the two spoke for 15 minutes in private in Benedict's library.
A Vatican statement said the discussions focused on "the need to find a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which the rights of everyone are recognized and respected." The talks also stressed the need for mutual respect and cooperation between the two sides, and for the international community to remain involved.
During Thursday's meeting, Abbas presented Benedict with a tiled scene of Old Jerusalem with the words "Jerusalem, capital of Arab culture" written in Arabic and English. Benedict, for his part, presented Abbas with a large pewter bas relief depicting St. Peter's Square.