|President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin was received in audience by the Holy Father yesterday afternoon according to a press release from the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. |
The private meeting held in the library of the Apostolic Palace began approximately at 6:15pm and lasted some 50 minutes. Afterwards there was a presentation of the president's entourage and an exchange of gifts. President Putin offered the Pope an image of the famous Church of Christ the Savior which the Holy Father reciprocated with a medallion by artist Guido Veroi that represented the angel of peace, an invitation to build a world of solidarity and peace based on justice and a copy of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.
As foreseen, given the current global state of affairs, the meeting was mainly devoted to the conflict in the Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East.
Regarding the situation in the Ukraine, the Holy Father affirmed that a great and sincere effort is necessary to achieve peace. He agreed on the importance of re-establishing a climate of dialogue and that all parties must commit themselves to enforcing the Minsk Accords. It is also essential to address the serious humanitarian situation, in particular guaranteeing access to humanitarian workers and, with the contribution of all parties, a progressive easing of tensions in the region.
On the other hand, as regards the conflicts of the Middle East, regarding the territories of Syria and Iraq, the common and urgent idea of seeking peace with the concrete participation of the international community, at the same time ensuring the necessary conditions of life to all area of society, including religious minorities, Christians in particular was substantially confirmed.
At the same time as the meeting with President Putin, a meeting was held between Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov during which the topics of the conflict in the Ukraine and the worrying situation in the Middle East were also discussed.