Jordan King, Pope say dialogue 'only option' for Syria
Pope Francis and King Abdullah of Jordan met in the Vatican on Thursday and unanimously agreed that engaging the Syrian government and opposition is the only means of resolving the two year old conflict.
The Pope and King Abdullah's claims that dialogue and constructive negotiations are the "only options" with which to end the Syrian crisis came amid reports that the US and its allies are preparing an imminent strike in Syria.
Abdullah flew to the Vatican specifically to meet the Pope and discuss the Middle East crisis. He was joined by Queen Rania and the three spoke privately for 20 minutes in the Vatican's apostolic palace, according to Reuters.
King Abdullah and the head of the catholic church "reaffirmed that the path of dialogue and negotiations among all components of Syrian society, with the backing of the international community, is the only option to end the conflict and the violence that each day cause the loss of so many human lives, most of all among the defenceless population", the Vatican said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Last Sunday, the Pope released a statement on the "atrocious " chemical weapon attack launched on residents in a Damascus neighbourhood that opposition activists say killed hundreds of people.
The two leaders met one day after US officials released information on their plans for multi-national strikes on Syria that could last for days, as Washington and its European and Middle Eastern allies said Syrian President Bashar Assad must face retribution for using chemical agents against his people, Reuters reported.