Today, Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra was received at the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican by Pope Francis and then held a meeting in Rome with her Italian counterpart, Angelino Alfano, at La Farnesina, where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is located.
About her meeting with the Pope, Malcorra stated: “It lasted almost an hour. It was a positive meeting; we held a fluent conversation on all the topics of mutual interest. We talked about the world from his point of view, his worries, and from the point of view of peace and security. We discussed trade and economy issues. It was a long conversation. We also talked about the region.”
“The Pope always says it: he believes that a ‘piecemeal’ World War III has already begun. He insists on that. We talked about what is going on in Syria, the Middle East, and even North Korea. He told me he met with European leaders, because he considers that Europe is fundamental in this world,” she added.
The Foreign Minister explained: “We talked about Argentina hosting the WTO and G20 meetings. He had an affectionate attitude, and that honours me, but at the same time he was interested in a wider context; in fact, we dedicated quite some time to the G20 agenda because he pictures Argentina setting an agenda in the international context. His view on globalization, under which each country retains its personality but is capable of integration, coincides with our idea of Argentina inserting intelligently in the world.”
“We talked about Argentina’s situation, and we reviewed the work we are doing, trying to move forward in the main agenda which is poverty eradication through sustainable jobs creation. We are facing an election year, which always represents an addition to Argentina’s reality. In this context, he told me that, as I am the Foreign Minister, I was the last person he would receive until elections are over,” Malcorra pointed out.
When asked about the possibility of a visit by the Argentine President, the Foreign Minister said: “It was never planned for Macri to come to Rome this year, as was published in some media. Furthermore, the Pontiff clearly said that he will remain distant from all this process. He will not receive any official visits until after the elections. And we did not talk about Argentina’s invitation to the Holy Father. The invitation is still open and he will come when he deems appropriate.”
The Argentine Foreign Minister underscored that “he was always focused on his concerns about the world, and even so, as regards Argentina in the global context, he was very optimistic and positive in many aspects. He sent his best wishes to President Macri and encouraged him to keep working; that was his message.”
“I never felt that the relationship with the Pope was broken, as it has been publicly said. Argentina’s relationship with the Pope is special because we Argentines feel that his Holiness is our own, and my conversation with him today reconfirmed how much he works for the world, not only for Argentina,” she said.
·VENEZUELA AND THE REGION
“I told him that we appreciate that our region is free from conflicts, and in that context, Venezuela’s situation is a source of deep concern, because of Venezuela, the Venezuelan people, and the impact it may have on our region and on neighbouring countries, especially Colombia, which is struggling to emerge from over 50 years at war.”
“The Pope told me that he is closely following up this situation. The Vatican’s commitment to find a solution is still firm, but he also needed to feel that there was some guarantee that the commitments assumed were fulfilled.”
“Then I was able to talk with Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State, and have a longer conversation. We are trying to find potential aid channels. But I want to insist on something with clarity: the problem of the Venezuelans can only be solved by the Venezuelans. No one but them can assume responsibility for the future of Venezuela; the region wishes to see Venezuela reconciling with their future.”
“This having been said, the region is responsible for helping and accompanying the Venezuelan people to shape the bright future they deserve; some of the things that have taken place recently prove that democratic institutions are not working in Venezuela, which allows us to adopt an active position at the regional level; our region has a sad history of dictatorships and coup d’états. Such history led us to have institutions under which acknowledging democratic principles is a collective responsibility of the region, not only of each country; this is cutting edge in the world, both as regards democratic principles and human rights principles.”
“When all the countries adhered to these institutions upon democracy restoration, we assumed a commitment to help each other when something goes wrong, and that is what we are trying to do, in the understanding that we can only do so by helping the Venezuelan people solve their problems. At the same time we warn that the current events are increasingly worrying because it seems as if the Venezuelan people were moving away from a solution.”
· MEETING WITH ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER
“With Angelino Alfano, we reviewed our bilateral agenda and we signed the Final Minutes of the Bilateral Joint Committee, which summarize all the work undertaken by the thematic tables from last year to now. Both Foreign Ministries are working closely,” she pointed out.
“The Italian President’s visit to Argentina will be a state visit. Apart from the meeting between President Mattarella and the three branches, there will be meetings with businesspersons and between businesspersons. A meeting with the Italian community in Argentina is scheduled, and he will also visit Bariloche to discuss issues related to our joint satellite project. It will be a fruitful and active trip,” Malcorra stated.
Within the framework of her agenda in Rome, the Foreign Minister opened the photograph exhibition called “Geneva-Buenos Aires-One way: The Bergoglio family’s trip to Argentina and other migration stories” at the Italian-Latin American Institute in Rome.
Press Release No. 141/17
Press Office: 4819-7375 / 8296 / 7388
Originally published at https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/en/news/releases/vatican-malcorra-spoke-francis-about-argentina-world-peace-and-situation-latin-america