Pope Francis meets Iraqi PM

Vatican City, Feb 11 (IANS) Pope Francis held talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi at the Vatican which centred on the rights of Christians and ethnic minorities in the Middle Eastern country, inter-faith dialogue and national reconciliation.

An official statement called the talks on Wednesday “cordial” and said Francis and Abadi referred during their meeting to the “good state” of bilateral relations between Iraq and the Holy See.

Francis and Abadi discussed the role of inter-religious dialogue and the need for religious communities to promote tolerance and peace, focussing on Iraq’s ongoing reconciliation process and the national and regional humanitarian situation, the statement said.

Abadi, a Shia Muslim, met Francis in his study at the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall and later the Vatican’s second-in-command, secretary of state, Pietro Parolin and its secretary for relations with states, Paul Gallagher.

After Italy, Al-Abadi will head to Germany to attend the annual Munich Security Conference on global security issues taking place from Friday-Sunday.

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