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Israeli President visits Pope Benedict

 Israeli President Shimon Perez visited Pope Benedict yesterday for what was described as a cordial meeting. The Vatican Press Office issued the following statement after the meeting: "This morning, in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Shimon Peres, president of the State of Israel. The president subsequently went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone SDB. Also present at the meeting were Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, and Oded Ben Hur, Israeli ambassador to the Holy See. "The cordial discussions enabled information to be exchanged concerning the recent renewal of contact between Israelis and Palestinians to restore peace the Holy Land, while respecting United Nations Resolutions and agreements signed to date. The hope was expressed that in the current international context, which seems particularly favourable with an international conference scheduled for next November, each of the parties involved will make every effort to respond to the expectations of their peoples, sorely tried by a crisis that has lasted for 60 years and that continues to inflict mourning and destruction. "Attention also tuned to relations between the State of Israel and the Holy See, and the hope was expressed for a rapid conclusion to the important negotiations currently underway, and for the creation of constant dialogue between the Israeli authorities and the local Christian communities with a view to the full participation of those communities in constructing the common good. President Peres also renewed the invitation to the Holy Father to visit the Holy Land." Source: VIS