Pope Francis has telephoned Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, urging all sides to end hostilities and build peace, reports the Catholic News Service.
The morning after Israel launched a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, the Pope personally telephoned the two leaders on July 18 to express 'his very serious concerns about the current situation of conflict.'
Phoning Peres at 10 in the morning and Abbas at 11.30am Rome time, the Pope told the leaders that the conflict was creating 'numerous victims and was giving way to a state of serious humanitarian emergency,' the Vatican said in a written communique on Friday.
The Pope told the two presidents, whom the Pope 'considers to be men of peace and who want peace,' that constant prayer was needed.
He also urged them to 'work hard at making sure all interested parties and those who have political responsibilities on the local and international levels dedicate themselves to bring an end to all hostilities, striving to foster a truce, peace and a reconciliation of hearts,' the Vatican said.
Photo: Francis looks on as Peres and Abbas embrace at the Vatican Gardens in June