Picture: Vatican Insider/La Stampa
Dialogue is and remains the only solution to the Syrian crisis. Pope Francis and King Abdullah II of Jordan both oppose the idea of international military intervention against the Bashar al Assad regime.
Together with Iraq, Jordan is one of the countries that is facing the consequences of the Iraq war directly. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled to the Hashemite Kingdom and given shelter in immense refugee camps, with thousands of new arrivals every day.
King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan said it was a “pleasure and an honour” to meet Francis for the first time. They met Benedict XVI when he visited Jordan in 2009. “I have an immense respect for what you and the Catholic Church are doing,” the king said at the start of their meeting, before journalists and assistants were escorted out of the papal library.
During the twenty-or-so-minute private meeting, King Abdullah and Pope Francis talked above all about the Middle East and how to promote “peace and stability” in this troubled region. The resumption of talks between Israel and Palestine is an important step in this direction.
But the bilateral communiqué issued at the end of the meeting underlines that the two also discussed the thorny issue of Jerusalem, just as the Vatican appears to be one step away from signing an financial agreement with Israel. Disagreements over the status of some holy sites has prevented this from happening for years. Palestinians claim Eastern Jerusalem as the capital of their future State, a request which Israel does not seem prepared to grant.
Source: Vatican Insider/La Stampa