Tuesday, May 27, 2014

MIDDLE EAST - Pope Francis' Visit

I too believe Palestine IS a sovereign nation.

"Pope Francis performs ‘balancing act’ of agendas on Middle East visit" (Part-1) PBS NewsHour 5/26/2014


JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  Nicholas Casey, is the Middle East correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and covered the pope’s trip.  He joins us now from Jerusalem.

Nick, let me ask you first about the pope’s invitation to Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres to come to Rome.  How much of a surprise was that, and how is it being seen by people that you’re talking to there?

NICHOLAS CASEY, The Wall Street Journal:  Well, it was a surprise to us, the reporters.  Sources I have in both governments said that this was an idea that was floated beforehand.

Now, what’s happened diplomatically on the two sides is that they have both walked away from the table.  This happened really acrimoniously last month.  Neither side has been talking to each other since.  So the pope realized this was the situation here and tried to get an olive branch circulating between both sides, which means that, some time next month, the presidents of the two countries are going to be meeting.  It’s not clear what they’re going to be talking about, how much politics will be on the table.

Officially, this is a meeting of talking, reflection and prayer.  But, hopefully, it will lead to some sort of revival of peace talks here eventually.

"Pope Francis invites Israeli, Palestinian leaders for prayer at the Vatican" (Part-2) PBS NewsHour 5/26/2014


SUMMARY:  In charged acts of political symbolism, Pope Francis stopped at some of the holiest sites for Jews and Muslims during a trip to the Middle East.  Pope Francis called for renewed peace talks, and became the first pontiff to refer to the “state of Palestine.”  The visit came just weeks after U.S.-led talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators collapsed.  Jeffrey Brown reports.

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