Pope Francis on Saturday, November 18, received in audience President of the Republic of Iraq Abdul Latif Jamal Rashid. The Iraqi president then met with the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations.
According to a statement released by the Holy See Press Office after the meetings, “During the cordial discussions, which took place in the Secretariat of State,” good bilateral relations between the Holy See and Iraq were confirmed and topics of common interest were discussed.
“In particular,” the statement added, “the need was reiterated for the Catholic Church in Iraq to be able to continue to carry out its valued mission and for all Iraqi Christians to be a vibrant and active part of society and the territory, particularly in the Nineveh Plain."
In addition, several international issues were discussed, with particular attention to the conflict in Israel and Palestine, and the urgent commitment to peace and stability.
Exchange of gifts
As is customary gifts were exchanged during the meeting between the Pope and the President.
Pope Francis gave President Rashid a bronze sculpture of a flower with the words "Peace is a fragile flower", this year's Message for the World Day of Peace and some bound papal documents.
President Rashid gave the Pope a reproduction in gold of the Ziggurat of Ur and some papal vestments.