[President Abbas hoisting Palestine's flag on the embassy in the Vatican (WAFA photo)]
Vatican City: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday opened the embassy of the State of Palestine at the Vatican.
In his brief speech during the inauguration ceremony of the embassy, Abbas told reporters that he met with Pope Francis.
“We talked at length about the peace process and stressed the importance of fighting terrorism and extremism throughout the world,” Abbas said.
Abbas also said he briefed the Pope on the international peace conference, to be held in Paris on Sunday, as well as UN Security Council Resolution 2334 on Israeli settlements. He expressed hope that the resolution will be implemented soon.
The Palestinian leader called on world governments to recognize Palestine, saying: “The more the world recognizes Palestine, the closer we get to achieving peace.”
Asked about plans by the new US administration to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President Abbas said: “We heard in the media that the new US administration wants to move the embassy to Jerusalem. We hope that this is not true because it will not be encouraging and will impede the peace process.”
It is worth mentioning that the Vatican recognized Palestine as a state in 2005.