(Vatican Radio) Peace and stability in the Middle East was the focus of Pope Francis’ meeting with the king of Jordan, Abdullah II.

The Holy Father on Thursday morning received in audience the Jordanian king and his wife, Queen Rania in the Vatican, along with a small delegation from Jordan. After exchanging cordial greetings with the king and queen, the Holy Father met with them privately for about 20 minutes before greeting the rest of the delegation.

Following the meeting with the pope, King Abdullah and several members of his delegation sat down with Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.

Several themes were touched upon throughout the morning, including the negotiations which have resumed between Israelis and Palestinians, and on the question of Jerusalem.

Particular attention was given to the crisis in Syria. It was said that the path of dialogue and negotiation between all components of Syrian society, with the support of the international community, is the only option for putting an end to the conflict and the violence which every day claims many lives, including the helpless civilian population.

Also during meetings, King Abdullah was commended for his commitment in the field of interreligious dialogue, including next month’s conference in Amman which will focus on the challenges Christians will have to face in the Middle East during this period of socio-political transformation.

Finally, acknowledgement was given for the positive contribution that Christian communities bring to the local society, of which they are an integral part.