June 8 - Pope Francis, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attend a peace prayer meeting in ''neutral'' Vatican gardens. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
In a bid for peace Pope Francis hosts the Israeli and Palestinian Presidents at the Vatican -- for an unprecedented prayer meeting among Jews, Christians and Muslims. It was the first public meeting between the two presidents in more than a year and comes more than a month after U.S.-led peace talks collapsed amid bitter mutual recrimination. At an evening service in the Vatican gardens the Pope appeals to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres to give peace a chance. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) POPE FRANCIS, SAYING: "Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities. All of this takes courage, it takes strength and tenacity." Peres spoke of a life defined by war and peace. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ISRAELI PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES SAYING: "Dear friends, I was young, now I'm old. I experienced war, I tasted peace. Never will I forget the bereaved families, parents and children who paid the cost of war and all my life I should never stop to act for peace, for the generations to come." Abbas appealed to God. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD ABBAS SAYING: "O Lord, bring comprehensive and just peace to our country and region so that our people and the peoples of the Middle East and the whole world would enjoy the fruit of peace, stability and coexistence," he said. While the Vatican has played down any expectations that the meeting will solve the region's problems -- it delivered what it promised a "pause from politics" and a chance to find common ground.