President Peres invites Pope Francis to visit Israel

By REUTERS
April 30, 2013 15:49

 
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VATICAN CITY - President Shimon Peres invited Pope Francis on Tuesday to visit Israel, at his first meeting with the new pontiff who has appealed for peace in the Middle East.

"I am expecting you in Jerusalem, not just me but the whole country of Israel," Peres told the pope in the presence of reporters after 30 minutes of private talks in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, made an appeal for peace between Israelis and Palestinians in his Easter address last month.

Both of Francis' two immediate predecessors, Benedict XVI and John Paul II, visited the Holy Land, including Palestinian territories, in 2000 and 2009 respectively.

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