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Pope Francis and Vladimir Putin discuss Ukraine and Middle East during meeting

2015-06-10

Russian President Vladimir Putin was late to his meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, but once he stepped out of his limousine, there were only handshakes and grins.

Putin approached Pope Francis with a slight grin on his face, and the two shook hands.

Next, the two met privately for about 50 minutes. The discussion focused on the ongoing war in Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East.

According to a Vatican spokesman, Pope Francis told Putin said that both sides in Ukraine must abide by the ceasefire agreement and that humanitarian workers should be allowed access. 

The Pope told Putin that the international community must come together for peace in Iraq and Syria, and to protect religious minorities. 

After their private session, the two exchanged gifts. The Russian leader explained the embroidery that he gave to the Pope.

"This is the Cathedral of Christ the Savior that was destroyed during the Soviet era and rebuilt later. It was made by hand with gold thread.”

In return, Pope Francis gave President Putin a medallion of the Angel of Peace and a copy of "Evangelii Gaudium.”

"This is the angel of peace that overcomes all wars.”
"These are my...religious, human, geopolitical, and social reflections.”

And with that, the meeting was over. The two shook hands, and the Pope made a familiar request.

"Thank you for your visit. I will pray for you, and I ask that you pray for me.”
"Thank you very much. It's been my pleasure and a great honor to be with you.”

Following his meeting with Pope Francis, the Russian president spoke with Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States.


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