Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Nearly three years after the Vatican recognized the state of Palestine, Pope Francis spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday about efforts to achieve a two-state solution with Israel.
The two met to discuss the implications of the United States recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the Embassy from Tel Aviv. Francis and Abbas also talked about the Israeli aggression toward Palestinian people, their land and holy sites, especially in Jerusalem.
They spoke about "efforts to reactivate the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, and to reach a two-state solution, hoping for a renewed commitment on the part of the international community to meet the legitimate aspirations of both peoples," a statement from the Vatican said.
Abbas gave Francis a gift depicting the ancient city of Jerusalem. The pope gave Abbas a medallion showing the Basilica of San Pietro during the 17th century.
The Palestinian leader told Italian news organization La Stampa that the United States was not helping the peace process in the Middle East.
"The U.S. cannot be the only mediator in the Middle East. A state which constantly imposes punitive sanctions against Palestine cannot be a mediator. U.S. leadership is an obstacle in the Middle East," he said.
"We do not want to continue to cooperate with the current U.S. administration," Abbas added. "We will not agree with conditions that violate international law."
During his visit to Rome, Abbas also will meet with the Italian president and prime minister. Francis and Abbas had a joint prayer service in 2014 calling for peace in the Middle east.