President of Malta invites Francis to visit the country â??to instill love and solidarityâ?

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29/09/2014
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The President of Malta, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican for the first time. She invited him to visit this Mediterranean island, whose population is mainly  Catholic.

MARIE LOUISE COLEIRO PRECA
President of the Republic of Malta
'I have invited Pope Francis, in this context, to come to Malta to speak to our young people, to our children, to the people of Malta. To instill and bring in the vibe for love and solidarity.�

The President introduced her husband, Edgar Preca, to the Pope, along with several members of her diplomatic delegation.

During their brief meeting, they discussed several conflicts that are taking place around the Mediterranean Sea. Also, they talked about refugees who have been forced to leave their homes as a result of these conflicts.

MARIE LOUISE COLEIRO PRECA
President of the Republic of Malta
'Conflict and persecution have brought upon the Mediterranean and Europe a double, triple crisis, really, of immigration. And definitely, when one speaks of peace, we're putting all this at the forefront of our deliberations.�

With a population of roughly 450,000 people, Malta is one of the smallest countries in the European Union. Still, the President said it may have a key role in promoting peace in the region.

MARIE LOUISE COLEIRO PRECA
President of the Republic of Malta
'We're really the place where ongoing dialogue can happen. Where we can really become the  crossroads of cultures. Where interfaith dialogue can happen.â?

Among the gifts she brought to Pope Francis, there was a box with traditional products of the island. In return, Pope Francis gave her a copy of his apostolic exhortation 'Evangelii Gaudium.'

If Pope Francis finally travels to Malta, he would become the third Pope to visit the country after John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

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