Parolin and Lavrov: Russia and the Vatican together against global crises

Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov

Parolin and Lavrov: Russia and the Vatican together against global crises

By Salvatore Cernuzio/ lastampa.it

The Secretary of State meets with the Foreign Minister. Concern for Christians in Africa and the Middle East and for the crises in Ukraine and Venezuela. “Dialogue between Catholic and Orthodox Church must be promoted”. Signed a Visa-free diplomatic travel agreement.

Russia’s and the Vatican’s shared view on issues such as countering terrorism, promoting peace, justice and family is today an indisputable fact. More work needs to be done on the relationship between the Catholic and the Orthodox Church, as well as more efforts are needed towards the cooperation efforts for global emergencies, beginning with the dramatic situations Christians are living in Africa and the Middle East, to the crises in Venezuela and the conflict in Ukraine. Premises and promises have been placed on the large rectangular wooden table around which, sitting opposite each other and surrounded by cameras and representatives of both delegations, were the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on his second day of his trip to Moscow.

A peaceful, and thought-provoking dialogue, which lasted over an hour and a half, as President Putin’s and Pope Francis’s respective right-hand men emphasized at the following press conference. While illustrating the contents of the talks, both confirmed that the Kremlin and St. Peter agree “on peaceful solutions of the crisis” in the world and on issues such as the fight against terrorism, interreligious dialogue, strengthening of social justice and family values” and, at the same time, reiterated the desire to clear up some few loose ends.

Above all, that of the dialogue between the two Churches. “We believe it’s a good thing that, in parallel with the ties between our states, to support dialogue between the two churches” Lavrov said in the private talk with Parolin, commending the February 2016 meeting in Cuba between Bergoglio and Patriarch Kirill which marked an important “thaw”. According to Parolin, this event, along with the journey of the relics of St. Nicholas around Russia, has “triggered a positive dynamic” involving all parts “to place other signs and gestures that can consolidate this path”. Moreover, the Cardinal did not fail to point out some unfinished business, such as working residency permits for non-Russian religious personnel and the restitution of some Churches, necessary for the pastoral care of Catholics in the country.

On a potential second meeting between Francis and Kirill, the cardinal - who this afternoon will meet the patriarch in his summer residence in Peredelkino, just outside Moscow - explained: “We did not talk about concrete issues, neither on the Pope’s visit or any other specific thing. We will see later , the Spirit of the Lord will suggest the best steps to take.”

For the time being, there are many other priorities: “I am here in Moscow with Sergey Lavrov and Vladimir Putin as intercessor of Pope Francis’s concern on bilateral relations and issues of international concern, in particular to create right and lasting solutions for the Middle East, Ukraine and other regions of the world,” the Vatican top official said. “In such dramatic conditions,” he continued, “the Holy See is indeed set to alleviate the conditions of the civilian population, but also committed to justice, and truth of the facts, and won’t allow manipulation of reality.” The Vatican, he added, “does not take political positions but calls for the respect of international law and urges the comeback of a healthy and respectful climate among nations.” There is “a strong concern for Christians” in North Africa and the Middle East, especially in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, and “the Holy See nourishes constant concern that religious liberty be preserved in all States and in all political situations”.

Same concern was also expressed about the situation in Venezuela, a country where for years Parolin played the role of apostolic nuncio. It is the Secretary of State who said that due to its long-lasting tradition of reciprocal ties, “Russia can help overcome this very difficult moment that has put the South American nation on its knees for such a long time”. For his part, Lavrov recalled that Russia had since the beginning supported “Pope Francis’ mediation process between the parties” and recognizes that “there are many external players who can help Venezuela come out” of its dramatic situation. “It is important, however, - the head of Russian diplomacy warned with reference to the US, - to understand that all external forces, which push the opposition towards a hard confrontation with the authorities, including the use of force, undermine the efforts of those who are genuinely interested in restoring peace and stability in Venezuela.”

Finally, today an agreement waiving visa requirements has been signed between Russia and the Vatican Secretariat by the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Aleksei Meshkov and the apostolic nuncio in Moscow, Monsignor Celestino Migliore. The document concerns only those who hold a diplomatic passport of the two signatory countries.

Tue, 08/22/2017 - 21:18
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