Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Dialogue and negotiation as only options to end conflicts in the Middle East and the protection of religious freedom in Egypt were the central topics of the meeting today at the Vatican between Pope Francis and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
communique informs that "during the cordial exchange,
discussions centered around the situation in the Egyptian nation, highlighting
the closeness and solidarity of the Church to all the people of Egypt during
this period of political transition. At the same time, hope was expressed that
within the framework of guarantees enshrined by the new Constitution in terms
of the safeguard of human rights and religious freedom, the peaceful coexistence
among all components of society may be strengthened and the path to
inter-religious dialogue may continue to be pursued".
"Furthermore, themes of common interest were discussed with particular reference to the role of the country in the promotion of peace and stability in the Middle East and North Africa. In this regard, it was reiterated that dialogue and negotiation are the only options to put an end to the conflicts and to the violence that endanger defenseless populations and cause the loss of human lives".
The Egyptian president arrived at the Vatican shortly before 14:30, amid visibly tight security measures. Upon greeting at the door of the private library, the journalists presents report the words "peace" and "commitment" expressed by the President who also said to Francis that he was "very pleased to meet you, you are a of great value for all humanity ", and the words "take courage" in the Pope's reply.
The private talks were followed by the usual moment for official photographs and the exchange of gifts. The Pope gave the President a medal of the second year of his pontificate and a copy of his apostolic exhortation "Evangelii gaudium" bound in red. The president in turn presented the Pope with a silver inlaid casket.