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Rome Reports

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Pope to Iraqi Prime Minister: Let's seek peace in the midst of the division

The meeting started out with this warm greeting between the Pope and Prime Minister of Iraq, Haidar al-Abadi. Pope Francis explained that he does not speak English fluently and therefore needs the aid of a translator. "I need the translator.â? They have addressed issues such as the persecution of Christians and other minorities and the need to protect their rights. The role of interreligious dialogue and the responsibility of religious communities was further emphasized. The promotion of tolerance and peace and humanitarian situation in the region was also discussed. Al-Abadi presented the Pope his large delegation, among them, the Minister for Refugees, a position that surprised Pope  Francis. "Minister for Refugees.â? The exchange of gifts came later. The Prime Minister gave the Pope an engraved silver. In return, Pope Francis also give the prime minister an engraved olive branch of peace and explained its meaning. "The strength of the olive tree, which is the symbol of peace, joining both parts. I wish for  Iraq and everyone all over the world, to have leaders that make an effort, like you have told me.â? "Insha'Allah. Insha'Allah.â? The Pope also gave him his encyclical "Laudato Siâ? and before saying goodbye, he personally distributed gifts to each member of the Iraqi delegation. The Iraqi leader also met with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Secretary for Relations with the States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher. AC/YA CTV VM -BN Up:AC