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Abbas, Peres to plant olive tree at Vatican ceremony

US Secretary of State John Kerry (centre) shakes hands with Israeli President Shimon Peres (left) and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmud Abbas at the King Hussein Convention Centre, at the Dead Sea, on May 26, 2013The Israeli and Palestinian presidents will plant an olive tree as a symbol of peace after an unprecedented prayer meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican Gardens on Sunday amid high tensions in the Middle East. The Vatican said it hoped the initiative launched by Francis, which will include Christian, Jewish and Muslim prayers and music, would have an impact on public opinion but stressed it would be a purely spiritual event. Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas will arrive separately to be greeted by Francis at the Vatican’s St Martha Residence, where he lives.

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