Vatican City, (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Thomas Boni Yayi, president of the Republic of Benin. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
During the cordial discussions pleasure was expressed at the good relations that exist between the Holy See and Benin, with particular reference to the Holy Father's apostolic visit there last year. Mention was also made of the positive contribution that the Catholic Church makes to development in the country.
Attention then turned to the question of the value of local cultures in Africa, and to the important role the Church has in educating people in peace and reconciliation. Finally consideration was given to certain regional challenges currently affecting the continent, which are of particular interest to the head of State in his role as president of the African Union.