Pope Francis receives in audience the prime minister of Iraq: importance of presence of Christians and ethnic minorities and defence of their rights

Vatican City, 10 February 2016 (VIS) - Today, in the study of the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father Francis received in audience Haydar al-Abadi, prime minister of Iraq, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, reference was made to the good state of bilateral relations, to the life of the Church in the country and to the situation of Christians and ethnic and religious minorities living in Iraq, with particular reference to the importance of their presence and the need to protect their rights. Emphasis was placed on the role of interreligious dialogue and the responsibility of religious communities in promoting tolerance and peace.

In this context, mention was made of the importance of the reconciliation process between the various social sectors within the country, and the national humanitarian and regional situation.