Skip to main content

Palestinians' Abbas invites Pope Francis to the Holy Land

By Kareem Khadder and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 8:55 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
Pope Francis talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during an audience on October 17, 2013 at the Vatican.
Pope Francis talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during an audience on October 17, 2013 at the Vatican.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas invites Pope Francis to the Holy Land
  • The Holy Land is a biblical region referring to Israel and the Palestinian territories
  • The Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, visited the Holy Land in 2009

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday invited Pope Francis to travel to the Middle East.

The Palestinian ambassador to the Vatican, Issa Kassissieh, told CNN that while on a visit to the Vatican, Abbas had "extended an official invitation to Pope Francis ... to visit the Holy Land and Palestine."

Opinion: Pope Francis inspires us to do more good

The Holy Land is a biblical region that includes Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The Vatican has not yet said whether the pontiff intends to take up the invitation.

Pope Francis leads the charge on reform
Pope Francis visits Assisi

Since he was elected Pope in March, Francis has spoken of the common ground shared by people of different faiths.

Addressing pilgrims Sunday, he asked them to "pray for peace in the Middle East: in Syria, in Iraq, in Egypt, in Lebanon and in the Holy Land, where the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, was born."

Opinion: The Pope's revolutionary message

Pope Francis met with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Vatican in April.

A Vatican communique issued after that meeting said they had discussed the hope for a speedy resumption of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

"Hope was expressed that this may assist in reaching an agreement that is respectful of the legitimate aspirations of the two peoples and capable of bringing lasting peace to the Holy Land and to the entire region," the statement said.

The Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, visited the Holy Land in May 2009.

CNN's Kareem Khadder reported from Jerusalem and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London. CNN's Sara Mazloumsaki contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:54 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
updated 7:24 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
updated 1:44 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
updated 8:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
updated 12:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
updated 3:22 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
updated 4:00 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
updated 6:34 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
updated 12:46 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
updated 9:51 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
updated 11:21 AM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
updated 12:01 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT