Angola: Pope and Angolan President Discuss Cooperation

Vatican — Pope Francis and Angolan President met Tuesday in the Vatican city to discuss bilateral cooperation and international politics.

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Momento da conversa entre Presidente João Lourenço e Papa Francisco

"Welcome, Mr. President," greeted the Holy Father in Portuguese. "Thank you very much. It is a great honor for me," replied the Angolan head of state in a long, brotherly handshake.

Speaking to Vatican Radio, the Angolan head of state said that the talks were about cooperation between both countries, having informed Pope Francis that Angola, being a secular state, promotes healthy coexistence among the various religions.

"We talk about Angola, in general, about its social and economic problems. I received a lot of advice from the Holy Father. I must say that I am very pleased with the way the audience took place, both me and the first lady and the delegation accompanying me," he said.

In this perspective, João Lourenço stressed that it was worth the trip to the Vatican, and Angola considers this meeting of great importance for the consolidation of relations between the two states.

At the end of the 30-minute meeting, the two leaders exchanged gifts. President João Lourenço offered a canvas "Mãe Alegre", a work of Angolan artist Guizef, artistic name of Augusto Zeferino Guilherme.

The Pope then presented the Angolan Head of State with a book about Saint Martin, Bishop of Tours (France) who died in 397 AD.

Cooperation between Angola and the Holy See has been marked by an excellent relationship in the Education and Health sectors.

The parties signed last September a Framework Agreement in which Angola recognizes the legal personality of the Catholic Church and the ownership of its properties in the country.

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