Pope initiates Middle East meeting

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Pope Francis has hosted a joint prayer meeting at the Vatican with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas.

The ceremony in the Vatican gardens that included Christian, Jewish and Muslim prayers.

The pontiff had invited the pair on his recent trip to the Holy Land. This is one of the first times that these two men have been at a meeting together. It is hoped that it may signal the start of peace talks between the two nations

Pope Francis has said he is not seeking to get directly involved in Middle East peace negotiations, which collapsed in in acrimony in April.

The three men then shook hands and planted an olive tree.

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