Abbas meets in Vatican with Pope Benedict

Middle East peace prospects were expected to be on the agenda of talks Saturday at the Vatican between Pope Benedict XVI and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The appointment at the Vatican was the last major appointment of a three-day visit to Italy by Abbas. On Friday he vowed to end the violence that marred primary elections across the Palestinian territories earlier in the week. He also promised "security and transparency" in next month's parliamentary elections. Israel is holding elections in March, and on Friday, at a news conference with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, Abbas praised Sharon, who recently formed a new political party. Abbas expressed confidence that the Israeli people would chose the path of peace in the Israeli elections.