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Cerar and Pope Francis Confirm Good Relations between Slovenia, Vatican

Vatican City, 29 May - Prime Minister Miro Cerar started his official visit to the Vatican on Friday by meeting Pope Francis. The PM tweeted after the meeting that the talks confirmed the friendly relations between Slovenia and the Holy See. He also invited the pope to visit Slovenia.

Vatican
PM Miro Cerar (left) meets Pope Francis (right) during official visit in Vatican.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Vatican
PM Miro Cerar (left) on official visit in Vatican.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Vatican
PM Miro Cerar meets Pope Francis on official visit in Vatican.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Vatican
PM Miro Cerar (right) meets Pope Francis (left) during official visit in Vatican.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Vatican
PM Miro Cerar (second from right) meets Pope Francis (third from right) on official visit in Vatican.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Vatican
PM Miro Cerar (centre) meets Pope Francis (left) on official visit in Vatican.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Vatican
PM Miro Cerar (right) meets Pope Francis (left) during official visit in Vatican.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

According to a press release from the Vatican, the pair agreed the constructive dialogue between Slovenia and the Holy See on bilateral issues, especially those concerning national reconciliation, common values and cooperation to the benefit of society and the poor, should continue.

The talks were meanwhile dominated by international topics, the PM's office said. Cerar and the pope exchanged views on the Middle East and North Africa conflicts, which open many humanitarian issues, including those concerning migration.

Cerar welcomed a recently issued papal bull, highlighting the importance of mercy and conciliation. He said the two notions also guided the Slovenian government.

The PM presented the pope with some traditional Slovenian treats - the walnut cake potica and the pear schnapps from Carthusian monastery Pletarje. Being a football fan, the pope also received a custom-made Slovenian team jersey.

Cerar also discussed bilateral relations with the Vatican's Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. The pair exchanged views on the EU's migration crisis and discussed Slovenia's ability to accept refugees. They agreed the situation calls for solidarity with those in need.

In the afternoon, Cerar visited the Vatican library and handed to Monsignor Cesar Pasini a facsimile of "Iconotheca Valvasoriana", a collection of 7,752 facsimiles of prints collected by Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641-1693).

In his address Carer highlighted that the Holy See was "written with golden letters" in Slovenia's recent history, being among the first to have recognised Slovenia's independence.

"But our joint cultural ties go further in the past than the independence. Centuries back," he said in explaining why he had chosen "Iconotheca Valvasoriana" as gift.

He labelled it a "global historic and artistic monument" and an "encyclopaedia of that time".

He noted that Pope John Paul II visited Slovenia twice and expressed hope for another pope's visit to Slovenia in the near future.

Cerar is scheduled to visit the Salone Sistino of the Vatican library later today and the Vatican museum.

His visit to the pope comes two years after Pope Francis hosted the then PM Alenka Bratušek in June 2013.

The Slovenian PMs who have paid a visit to the pope include Lojze Peterle, Janez Janša, Anton Rop, Andrej Bajuk and Janez Drnovšek.

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© STA, 2015