Pope Francis calls Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas an 'angel of peace'

The Vatican expressed 'great satisfaction' over treaty talks with Palestinian leader

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The Independent Online

Pope Francis has praised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as an "angel of peace".

Francis made the compliment during the traditional exchange of gifts at the end of an official audience in the Apostolic Palace.

He presented Abbas with a medallion representing the “angel of peace destroying the bad spirit of war.”

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Pope Francis speaks with Palestinian authority President Mahmud Abbas during a private audience on 16 May 2015 in the Vatican.

President Abbas’ visit also comes days after the Vatican finalised a bilateral treaty with the “state of Palestine” in an explicit recognition of statehood.

The Vatican said it had expressed “great satisfaction” over the new treaty during the talks with the Palestinian delegation and expressed hopes that direct peace talks with Israel would resume.

Mr Abbas is in Rome for the Canonisation of two 19th century nuns from what was then Ottoman-ruled Palestine.

Mr Abbas today offered Francis relics of the two new saints.

Church officials hope the new saints will be a sign of hope and encouragement for Christians in the Middle East at a time when violent persecution from Islamic extremists has driven many Christians from the region.

Additional reporting AP

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