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May 20, 2015 10:35 am

Vatican: Pope Francis Meant No Offense With Abbas ‘Angel of Peace’ Remark

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Pope Francis described PA President Mahmoud Abbas as an "angel of peace." Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO. – Vatican spokesman Father Frederico Lombardi said that Pope Francis meant no offense in his purported description of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as an “angel of peace.”

“It is clear that there was no intention to offend anyone,” Lombardi¬†told Reuters on Tuesday.

Pope Francis, who canonized two 19th-century nuns from what was then Ottoman-ruled Palestine, met with Abbas on Saturday at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, where he presented the Palestinian leader with a bronze medallion.

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There have been different accounts of what Pope Francis actually said in Italian during an exchange with Abbas, with initial reports suggesting the pontiff called Abbas an “angel of peace.” Other reporters present said the statement could be translated as “you are a bit of an angel of peace.”

The pope’s comments angered many pro-Israel observers who have questioned Abbas’s commitment to peace and his links to terrorism. Last week, the Vatican also came under fire for referring to the “State of Palestine” in a bilateral treaty between the Vatican and the Palestinians.

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