Pope Francis meets with Netanyahu at Vatican
December 2, 2013 -- Updated 1437 GMT (2237 HKT)
- Vatican expresses hope for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks
- Netanyahu meets with pope at Vatican's Apostolic Palace
- Pope expected to visit Israel, Palestinian territories next year
(CNN) -- Pope Francis and Vatican officials expressed hope that Palestinians and Israelis can forge a peace agreement "as soon as possible" as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the pontiff Monday, the Vatican said.
The meeting with Netanyahu at the Vatican's Apostolic Palace comes months ahead of Francis' anticipated trip to the Holy Land, a biblical region that includes Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Netanyahu also met with the Vatican's secretary of state, Archbishop Pietro Parolin.
The discussions focused on "the complex political and social situation in the Middle East, with particular reference to the reinstatement of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, expressing hope that a just and lasting solution respecting the rights of both parties may be reached as soon as possible," the Vatican said.
Pope Francis calls for big changes in Roman Catholic Church
Pope Francis is expected to visit Israel on May 25-26, an official Israeli source told CNN last month. The Vatican would not confirm the exact dates of the trip.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas invited Francis to travel to the Palestinian territories during Abbas' visit to the Vatican in October.
Pope Francis met with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Vatican in April. A Vatican communique issued after that meeting said they had discussed the hope for a speedy resumption of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
The Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, visited the Holy Land in May 2009.
PHOTOS: Pope Francis
CNN's Hada Messia contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
July 10, 2014 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Brazil's oldest foe secures its place in the World Cup final for the first time in more than two decades after defeating the Netherlands on penalties.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)
Israel has deployed its Iron Dome defense system to halt incoming rockets. Here's how it works.
How Beijing built the world's largest high-speed rail network in less than a decade.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 1217 GMT (2017 HKT)
CNN's Becky Anderson looks at how practicing underwater is the perfect way to prepare for spacewalks.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 0917 GMT (1717 HKT)
Spectacular Germany outplays Brazil to reach the World Cup final with a 7-1 win over the hosts.
Even those who aren't in the line of fire feel the effects of the chaos that has engulfed Iraq since extremists attacked.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 0641 GMT (1441 HKT)
CNN's Jim Bittermann takes a look at a family who found the remains of their great- grandfather 100 years later.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 0008 GMT (0808 HKT)
Israelis and Palestinians have entered another yet violent cycle of reaction and counterreaction. Here are five things to keep in mind.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
Traveling to the U.S.? You could be delayed if your electronic device has a dead battery.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 2157 GMT (0557 HKT)
With one hand, Zahra Hassan clutches a purse that matches her red blouse and skirt trimmed in blue. In the other, she holds an AK-47.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
Today's five most popular stories