Pope Benedict XVI and top Vatican officials met Wednesday with Syria's vice president, Farouk al-Sharaa, to discuss the situation of Christians in Syria and the role Damascus should play in bringing peace to the Middle East, the Vatican said.
Al-Sharaa delivered a personal message to Benedict from Syrian President Bashar Assad, although the contents weren't released.
The visit came on the eve of Benedict's audience with Israeli President Shimon Peres, part of a new international diplomatic push under way on the Middle East.
The Vatican said al-Sharaa met with the pope and the Vatican's Foreign Minister, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.
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