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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican Thursday.  

The two men spoke privately for 15 minutes and addressed the subject of Mr. Abbas's meeting last month with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama in New York.

Mr. Abbas presented the Holy See with a piece of ceramic art depicting Jerusalem with the words "Jerusalem, Capital of Arab Culture" written on it in both Arabic and English.  

Pope Benedict toured the Middle East in May of this year, where he met separately with Mr. Abbas and Mr. Netanyahu.

The pope has said Israel has the right to enjoy peace and security within its borders and the Palestinian people have a right to a sovereign independent homeland.

After his visit to the Middle East, the pontiff declared that peace in the region is possible.  


 Some information for this report was provided by AP.