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Israel's Peres pitches "UN of Religions" to pope

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Photo - In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets with former Israeli President Shimon Peres on the occasion of their private meeting at the Vatican, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Peres ended his term as president of Israel on July 24, 2014, handing the presidency over to Reuven Rivlin. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets with former Israeli President Shimon Peres on the occasion of their private meeting at the Vatican, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Peres ended his term as president of Israel on July 24, 2014, handing the presidency over to Reuven Rivlin. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)
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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Retired Israeli President Shimon Peres has proposed a new global peace initiative to Pope Francis: A "United Nations of Religions," given that most wars today have religious, not nationalistic, undercurrents.

The Vatican said Peres pitched the initiative during a 45-minute audience Thursday in the Apostolic Palace. The two men last met when Francis invited the then-Israeli president and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to pray for peace together in the Vatican gardens on June 8.

A few weeks later, war broke out in the Gaza Strip.

Peres told the Catholic publication Famiglia Cristiana that the U.N. is ill-suited to handle today's conflicts and that a "'U.N. of Religions' is the best way to fight terrorists who kill in the name of God."

Francis promised the Vatican's attention to the proposal.

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