Vatican City – Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, met with the Holy Father on October 17, 2013, in the Vatican. On receiving Francis’ gift of a pen, Abbas said: “I hope to sign the peace treaty with Israel with this pen.” The Holy Father answered “Soon, soon.”
They met for about half an hour. After the meeting, the Pope gave President Abbas a pen saying ”Surely, you have many things to sign,” to which Abbas responded “I hope to sign the peace treaty with Israel with this pen.”
The meeting was held in the Library in the Vatican, with an interpreter who translated from Arabic to Italian.
In the exchange of gifts, the Palestinian President gave the Pontiff a picture made up of four tiles with a drawing of Bethlehem that was made there, and the first Bible printed in Palestine.
In this first meeting with Pope Francis, Mahmoud Abbas was accompanied by a delegation of 13 persons, among whom were two women, the mayor of Bethlehem and the Palestinian ambassador in Italy.
After the meeting with the Pope, President Abbas met with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States. In their first verbal exchanges, President Abbas confirmed that he invited the Holy Father to the Holy Land.