-- ZENIT.org News Agency
Pope Meets with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
VATICAN CITY, June 17, 2013 (Zenit.org) - Pope Francis received President Nicolas Maduro Moros, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, this morning at the Vatican Apostolic Palace. President Maduro later met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
According to the Holy See Press Office, the "topics focused on included the country's social and political situation after the recent death of President Hugo Chavez Frias, as well as current issues such as poverty and the fight against crime and drug trafficking."
"As the talks continued, reference was made to the Catholic Church's historical presence in the country and her decisive contribution to charity, health care, and education, and the need for constant and sincere dialogue between the Episcopal Conference and the State for the development of the entire nation was agreed upon," the communique stated.
Pope Francis and President Maduro also discussed the current regional situation, including the peace process with neighboring Colombia. Tensions have mounted between the two countries, particularly after Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos received Henrique Capriles, an opposition candidate in Venezuela who opposes the election results that put Maduro into power.
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