Pope Francis looks at Israel's President Shimon Peres, left, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas embrace each other during an evening of peace prayers in the Vatican gardens, Sunday, June 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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Pope Francis waded head first into Mideast peace-making Sunday, welcoming the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to the Vatican for an evening of peace prayers just weeks after the last round of U.S.-sponsored negotiations collapsed.Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas embraced in the foyer of the Vatican hotel where Francis lives, joked together and sat on either side of Francis for an hourlong invocation of Jewish, Christian and Muslim prayers in the Vatican gardens. At the conclusion, Francis, Peres and Abbas shook hands and planted an olive tree together in a sign of peace.Nadav Tamir, a political adviser to Peres, said Sunday the Israeli government authorized the trip and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in "constant contact" with Peres.
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