Vatican City, 3 September 2015 (VIS) Today in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Francis received in audience Reuven Rivlin, president of the State of Israel, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by the secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher.
During the cordial discussions the Parties focused on the political and social situation in the Middle East, affected by several conflicts, with special attention to the condition of Christians and other minority groups. In this respect the importance of interreligious dialogue was recognised, along with the responsibility of religious leaders in promoting reconciliation and peace.
The need and urgency of promoting a climate of trust between Israelis and Palestinians was highlighted, alongside the resumption of direct negotiations with the aim of reaching an agreement respecting the legitimate aspirations of the two Populations, as a fundamental contribution to peace and stability in the Region.
Various issues were considered regarding the relations between the State of Israel and the Holy See, and between the state authorities and local Catholic communities. The Parties expressed their hope that the bilateral Agreement currently being drafted be concluded promptly, and that an adequate solution be found for various matters of common interest, including the situation of Christian schools in the country.