Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will visit the Vatican on June 8.
The two leaders are scheduled to attend a prayer meeting hosted by Pope Francis that will also include a rabbi and Muslim cleric, the Vatican confirmed.
“I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer. In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace,” Pope Francis said during his recent Mideast trip.
While the chances of a breakthrough in the peace process seem slim-with Peres’s position being largely ceremonial and the fact that he leaves office in July, and Abbas mainly focused on forming a unity government with the terrorist group Hamas-Pope Francis hopes to create new atmosphere between the leaders.
“It will be a prayer meeting. It’s not to do mediation or find solutions,” Francis told reporters on his flight home from the Holy Land on Monday. “We’ll meet just to pray, and then everyone will go home. But I think praying is important, praying together.”