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What's driving Pope Francis' Middle East diplomacy?

Pope Francis' push for Palestinian statehood is part of a series of bold initiatives to preserve the region's rich religious mosaic.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his weekly audience in St.Peter's square, at the Vatican City, May 13, 2015.   REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito  - RTX1CQI5
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The Vatican's forceful recognition of a Palestinian state May 13 is just the latest in a series of bold diplomatic moves aimed at ensuring that Christians will be able to remain in the birthplace of their faith.

From the beginning of his papacy Pope Francis hasn't hesitated to jump into the bloody politics of the Middle East, starting with his September 2013 appeal for a day of fasting and prayer to protest the planned US military strikes on Syria. Since then he has recognized the Armenian slaughter of 1915 as a genocide and repeatedly called for peace in the region, all in the name of defusing conflicts that threaten to tear apart a rich mosaic of cultures in which Christians once thrived.

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