Vatican City – Today, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of the State of Israel, who subsequently went on to meet with secretary of State Archbishop Pietro Parolin, accompanied by the under-secretary for Relations with States, Msgr. Antoine Camilleri.

During the colloquial discussions, attention was focused on the complex political and social situation in the Middle East, with particular reference to the reinstatement of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, expressing hope that a just and lasting solution respecting the rights of both Parties may be reached as soon as possible.

Aside from indicating the Holy Father’s plans for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, various questions were considered regarding the relations between the State Authorities and the local Catholic communities, as well as between the State of Israel and the Holy See, in the hope that the Agreement which has been in preparation for some time may be concluded forthwith.