The Palestinian Authority has opened an embassy at the Vatican on the eve of a peace conference meant to revive long-stalled talks with Israel. The embassy confers a new level of legitimacy on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was granted an audience with Pope Francis. While the Vatican has maintained close ties with Israel, Francis has increasingly spoken on behalf of the Palestinian people, encouraging both sides to reach a deal that creates a Palestinian state recognized by Israel. “This embassy is a place of pride for us and we hope that all of the countries of the world recognize the state of Palestine, because this recognition will bring us closer to the peace process,” Abbas said at the Vatican.
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Newsline: Palestinians establish embassy at the Vatican