SHAFAQNA– Iraqi President Barham Salih met with the head of the Roman Catholic Church Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday.
An official reception was held to His Excellency at the Apostolic Palace, where His Holiness Pope Francis was on top of officials who received President Salih, as well as a number of Vatican’s Cardinals and bishops.
Mr Salih presented the pope with a silver statue of a palm tree and in return Francis gave the Iraqi president a medal with two olive branches, saying it was a representation of unity between the two states, thenational told.
During the meeting, the President emphasized that what Christians, Yazidis, Muslims and other Iraqis have been subjected to genocide crimes committed by the terrorist organization of ISIS were not related to the tolerant teachings of the Islamic religion, referring to the history of peaceful coexistence among all sects in Iraq,” read a statement from Salih’s office.
Salih “demonstrated the importance of achieving a genuine national reconciliation that includes all and contributes directly to attaining peace. The President stressed on the need of concerted efforts of all to achieve this reconciliation”, RUDAW reported.
President Barham Salih clarified that resolving the crises suffered by some countries of the region comes through dialogue and understanding, noting the importance of strengthening efforts to bring peace and stability to the region.
President Salih also invited the Pope of the Vatican to visit Ur and the House of Ibrahim al-Khalil, where the heavenly religions began, and the Pope promised to meet the invitation in due course.
For his part, Pope Francis stressed the need to move forward in bringing stability to Iraq and the whole region. He indicated the importance of giving priority to the language of dialogue and understanding and promoting peaceful coexistence in the region, IRAQI PRESIDENCY reported.
“Iraq can bring together believers from all faiths to affirm values of peace, tolerance & confront extremism,” tweeted Salih after meeting Pope Francis.
Iraq’s head of state said he was “honored to have met His Holiness the Pope.”
“I invited him to visit Ur, where Abraham started his mission of peace and unity,” he said.
The meeting comes within the framework of Salih’s visit to Italy at the official invitation of the Italian President and Prime Minister, in which President Barham Salih participated in the “Mediterranean Dialogues” Conference held in Rome.
The Iraqi president also met Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and President Sergio Mattarella in Rome on Thursday.
Mr Salih took part in the Mediterranean Dialogues where he stressed that “Iraq has the opportunity to play a leading role for stability in the region”.