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Pope tells Abbas of hope for Mideast solution after UN vote

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday the Vatican hoped the recent de facto recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations would spur the international community to find a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Abbas, who is on a tour of Europe to thank countries that supported the Nov. 29 resolution by the UN General Assembly recognizing Palestine, held private talks with the pope for about 25 minutes in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace."It is hoped that (the resolution) will encourage the commitment of the international community to finding a fair and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which may be reached only by resuming negotiations between the parties, in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both," a Vatican statement said.
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