February 24, 2011.
Michel Sleiman, the president of Lebanon, visited Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican for the second time. He is the only Christian president in the region. They exchanged views on the riots that have been sweeping through the
Middle East and asked for an urgent resolution to the conflicts.
Speaking in French, they also discussed the struggles for Christians in
the Middle East.
The two spoke privately for about 30 minutes. According to the Vatican, they have highlighted the importance of collaboration and dialogue between Christians and Muslims, and stressed that “the presence of Christians and Muslims in Lebanon is a message of freedom and respectful coexistence throughout the Middle East.
The official statement underlines the importance of civil and religious authorities to educate the consciences for peace and reconciliation.
Sleiman was accompanied by his wife. He gave the Pope a sixteenth century gold and ivory incense burner, which came from a Maronite monastery.