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Pope Encourages Arafat On Peace

Pope John Paul II met with PLO leader Yasser Arafat on Saturday, and praised Palestinian and Israeli peace efforts.

The pontiff told Arafat that he hoped the two sides could “soon enjoy the concrete fruits of peace,” the Vatican said in a statement.

The half-hour meeting at the pope’s summer residence was the first encounter between the two men since the Vatican and the Palestine Liberation Organization established diplomatic ties in October 1994.

Arafat was in Italy to attend an economic symposium on the shore of Lake Como, where he met Friday with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

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