Vatican Press Statement on Putin's Visit

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 6, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is the press statement published Wednesday by Joaquín Navarro-Valls, director of the Vatican press office, at the end of the audience that John Paul II granted to Russian President Vladimir Putin.



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"This afternoon the Holy Father received Vladimir V. Putin, President of the Russian Federation. The meeting, which was very cordial, lasted 30 minutes. The Holy Father asked that the icon of Our Lady of Kazan be kept in the room and he showed it to President Putin."

Navarro-Valls then quoted Putin in reference to his last visit with the Pope: "Although three years have gone by, it seems like yesterday."

"During the conversation, topics of mutual interest were reviewed, specifically Catholics in Russia and their ecclesiastical structures. Both parties expressed hope for a positive development in the dialogue between the Holy See and the Patriarchate of Moscow.

"On international issues there was an exchange of opinions on the conflict in the Holy Land and on the Iraqi question.

"At the same time, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano met with Igor Ivanov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and other Ministers in the entourage. During their conversation, they exchanged opinions on the situation of ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox. They then examined the new initiatives for peace in the Holy Land and in Iraq."

[Translation by the Vatican Information Service]