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Pope to host Palestinian president Abbas on January 14

Pope Francis (R) walks along with Palestinian authority President Mahmud Abbas (L) during a private audience on May 16, 2015 in VaticanPope Francis will grant Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas an audience at the Vatican on Saturday, the Holy See confirmed indirectly Tuesday by announcing arrangements for media coverage of the visit. It will be the third time Francis has met Abbas following an encounter during the pontiff’s 2014 trip to the Holy Land and the Palestinian leader’s 2015 visit to the Vatican to attend a canonisation ceremony for two Palestinian nuns. Relations between the Holy See and Palestine were upgraded in 2015 with the signing of an accord expected to lead to the establishment of a Palestinian embassy in the Vatican at some point this year.

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