Last updated: 30 May, 2013

Pope could help in interfaith peace talks, says Israel’s Peres

Israeli President Shimon Peres has raised the possibility of an interfaith conference on peace during a recent encounter with Pope Francis in Rome, the presidency said on Thursday.

“The issue of a multi-faith conference was raised, and President Peres expressed his belief that Pope Francis can play an important role in progressing peace,” the office of Peres informed AFP in a statement.

Details of such a proposed conference, which would bring together Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders, have yet to be discussed, according to Israeli sources.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told AFP on Thursday he was not aware that Peres had raised this notion during his meeting with Pope Francis, while recalling the general themes of the meeting, which included peace in the region and an invitation to visit the Holy Land.

In late April, the Israeli president told Francis he was “expecting” him in Jerusalem.

Lombardi said the Pope desired to visit the Holy Land, but said that there were no concrete plans yet.