THE POPE RECEIVES THE PRESIDENT OF COTE D'IVOIRE

Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Alassane Ouattara, president of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire. 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.

The discussions emphasised the cordial relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire, as well as the convergence of opinions on the contribution the Church makes for the good of the entire country, encouraging peace and promoting human rights, dialogue and national reconciliation, as the only way to favour unity and development. Emphasis was also given to the fruitful collaboration between Church and State in the sectors of healthcare and education, among others. The hope was expressed that the negotiations for an agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire would soon be concluded.

Mention was also made of various regional challenges Africa is currently facing, which are of particular concern to Mr. Ouattara in his role as president of the Economic Community of West African States.