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The President of East Timor speaks to the Pope – Vatican News

The President of East Timor speaks to the Pope – Vatican News

Pope Francis received the President of East Timor on Monday. During the discussions at the State Secretariat, the focus was on the economic and social problems facing the country as well as the effects of climate change, according to a subsequent press release.

The secret conversation between the Pope and the President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, José Manuel Ramos-Horta, lasted about 35 minutes, from 10:15 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. The president of the Southeast Asian island nation then met with Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Vatican Foreign Affairs Representative Paul R. Gallagher (“Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations”).

East Timor President Ramos-Horta during talks at the State Secretariat

East Timor President Ramos-Horta during talks at the State Secretariat

As a Vatican statement later circulated said, “warm discussions in the Secretariat of State” emphasized “the good relations existing between the Holy See and East Timor as well as the contribution that the Catholic Church makes to the state in daily life” – with particular emphasis on “ Good relations with the authorities.” She went on to discuss “some aspects of the country's economic and social situation” as well as “the problems caused by climate change in the region.” Views were also exchanged on “the international and regional situation regarding the countries of Southeast Asia.” The island of East Timor is located between Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia.

Exchanging gifts with Pope Francis

Exchanging gifts with Pope Francis

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As usual, gifts were also exchanged during the official visit. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ramos-Horta (received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 with Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Bello for his efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor) had with him a model cloth on which a local artist had painted a portrait of the Pope. There was also a rosary made of sandalwood beads and a can of Luwak coffee (considered one of the best coffees in the world), along with a document of brotherhood signed by the Parliament of East Timor.

The Pope presented the President with a bronze statue of brotherhood. In addition to the usual flurry of papal documents, this year's peace message and a book about the papal apartment.

(Vatican News – CS)