Ben Ariel – January 13, 2017
The Palestinian Authority (PA) will on Saturday inaugurate an embassy in the Vatican, the PA-based Ma’an news agency reported on Friday.
The inauguration ceremony will be attended by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Pope Francis, according to a statement from a spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Earlier this week it was announced that Pope Francis will grant Abbas an audience at the Vatican on Saturday, marking the third time that the Pope has met Abbas.
According to the PLO statement, Abbas’s visit to the Vatican began on Wednesday and will conclude on either Sunday or Monday. In addition to meeting with the Pope for the embassy’s inauguration, Abbas will also meet with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, and travel to Paris to meet with French President Francois Hollande, Ma’an reported.
Abbas’s visit takes place at the same time as the Paris peace conference, which is scheduled for Sunday. However, Abbas is not scheduled to attend the conference nor will Israeli representatives be present.
The inauguration of an embassy in the Vatican comes almost four years after the Vatican recognized “Palestine” as a state.