Pope Francis met with Anote Tong, the president of Kiribati, in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace Thursday.
"Your Holiness, what a pleasure indeed. Thank you for the opportunity.”
During the short meeting, they primarily discussed climate change and the environment. The two exchanged gifts while several cameras clicked away.
President Tong presented Francis with a traditional craft. In turn, the Pope gave Tong a St. Martin medallion.
Tong has led the small island nation since 2003 and has gained international attention for his climate change advocacy.
Both said they hope for concerted and effective measures to come out of an international climate change summit this December in Paris. Pope Francis will likely publish an encyclical on ecology before the summit.
Tong also joked with Francis while introducing his staff.
"Mary is my secretary, so she is my boss.”
Afteward, Tong met with Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.