You are the most significant warrior for peace I’ve ever met

Francis and Biden meet

In the longest ever meeting between a pope and a US President, Pope Francis and Joe Biden spoke in private on Friday for 75 minutes, with Biden saying to Francis, “You are the most significant warrior for peace I’ve ever met.”

It was clear to officials and media in Rome that Mr Biden came to the Vatican not as a penitent to confess to the pope but as the president of the United States of America to discuss questions of immense global importance with the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, of whom he is a great admirer.

Following the meeting, the White House said: ‘Biden thanked His Holiness for his advocacy for the world’s poor and those suffering from hunger, conflict, and persecution.

‘He lauded Pope Francis’ leadership in fighting the climate crisis, as well as his advocacy to ensure the pandemic ends for everyone through vaccine sharing and an equitable global economic recovery.’

The Vatican issued the following statement when the president had left the city-state, it said:

“During the course of the cordial discussions, the Parties focused on the joint commitment to the protection and care of the planet, the healthcare situation and the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the theme of refugees and assistance to migrants.”

It added that “reference was also made to the protection of human rights, including freedom of religion and conscience.”

The statement concluded: “the talks enabled an exchange of views on some matters regarding the current international situation, also in the context of the imminent G20 summit in Rome, and on the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation.”

They met in the same library where the pope had met with Biden’s two predecessors, Donald Trump, for 30 minutes, and Barack Obama, for 52 minutes.

The length of the meeting was a sign that the two leaders had a more in-depth discussion than observers had expected.

The friendly atmosphere was evident from the videos released by the Vatican after the visit. They showed the two men joking with each other; like old friends.

President Biden was accompanied by his wife, Jill, and a delegation of 10 other people that included Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and the Charges d’affaires of the United States Embassy to the Holy See, Patrick Connell.

On a controversial note, a video has emerged showing President Biden travelling through the streets of Rome in an 85 vehicle motorcade.

The footage prompted some to point out the irony of Biden’s entourage containing so many vehicles when one of the main objectives of his trip is to discuss cutting emissions.

Michael Robinson Chavez, a Washington Post photographer, said: ‘Not exactly carbon-friendly.’



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