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Israeli and Palestinian presidents meet in an unprecedented prayer meeting with Pope Francis on Sunday, a gesture he hopes will “re-create a desire, a possibility” of eventually relaunching the Middle East’s stalled peace process. The Vatican has played down any expectations that the Sunday evening meeting between Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas – billed as a “pause from politics” – will lead to any immediate breakthroughs in the region’s tortuous problems and says it is not meddling in regional issues. A church official in charge of Catholic sites in the Holy Land and a key organiser of the encounter Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa said, “No one is presumptuous enough to think peace will break out on Monday.”



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