From the International Tribune:
Pope Benedict XVI met Thursday with Israeli President Shimon Peres, as the elder statesman and Nobel Peace Prize laureate continued his visit to Italy amid an international push for peace in the Middle East.
The meeting took place in the papal summer retreat of Castel Gandolfo, in the hills south of Rome. The Vatican did not immediately release details of the talks, the first since Peres became president in July.
Peres, holding five days of talks with political and business leaders in Italy, said Wednesday that recent meetings between Israeli and Palestinian leaders and the flurry of diplomatic activity in the Middle East could be the most promising developments yet in efforts to bring peace to the region.
“The overall atmosphere is encouraging,” he said after meeting in Rome with Italian Premier Romano Prodi.