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.”
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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