12/04/2015, 00.00
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Pope and Aquino talk about the Mindanao peace process and COP 21

The Filipino president gave the pope a tea set in ceramic, typical of his country’s rural regions. Francis reciprocated with a medallion showing the olive tree of peace, so that "we may work for peace."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis received the President of the Philippines, Benigno S. Aquino III, at the Vatican. Their meeting focused on the Catholic Church's contribution to the life of the Philippines and to the peace process in Mindanao.

 “During the cordial discussions,” the Vatican Press Office said in a note relating the event, “the dialogue between the various members of Filipino society was evoked, as well as the contribution of the Catholic Church to the life of the country. Special reference was made to the peace process in Mindanao, with the hope that commitment from the Parties may guarantee stable and lasting peace to the region.”

“This was followed by an exchange of opinions on the international and regional situation, with special reference to the question of climate change and the COP21 Conference in Paris.”

A delegation of some 20 people accompanied President Aquino, who was on his way back from the Paris international conference.

As part of the traditional exchange of gifts, the Filipino leader gave the pope a tea set in ceramic, typical of rural Philippines. Francis gave the president a medallion with the olive tree of peace, so that "we may work for peace," he said. He also gave Aquino a copy of Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato si’.

In an ambiance of great cordiality, the president said, "I shall have time to read them on the plane”. Before he took his leave, the pontiff asked him, "Pray for me."

After his meeting with the pope, Aquino met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, who was accompanied by Mgr Antoine Camilleri, undersecretary for Relations with States.

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