VATICAN CITY, MAR 14, 2007 (VIS) - Yesterday evening the Holy See Press Office released the following communique:
"This afternoon, March 13, 2007, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Valdimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation. At the same time, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, met with Sergei Lavrov, minister for foreign affairs of the Russian Federation, and other members of the delegation accompanying the president.
"The discussions, which took place in a positive atmosphere, provided an opportunity to emphasize the cordial relations that exist between the Holy See and the Russian Federation and the shared desire to develop them further, also through specific cultural initiatives. Within this framework, certain bilateral themes of mutual interest were examined, also concerning relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, and current international questions were analyzed, especially those regarding the Middle East.
"Finally, attention also turned to the problems of extremism and intolerance, which constitute grave threats to the civilized coexistence of nations, highlighting the need to preserve peace and to favor negotiated and peaceful solutions to conflicts."
OP/PRESIDENT RUSSIAN FEDERATION/PUTIN VIS 070314 (200)