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Pope Benedict meets with Vietnam Secretary-General Phu Trong

Audience first in 37 years

22 January, 14:51
Pope Benedict meets with Vietnam Secretary-General Phu Trong (ANSA) - Vatican City, January 22 - Pope Benedict XVI received the secretary-general of Vietnam's Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong at the Vatican on Tuesday in a private audience 37 years after the two states broke off diplomatic relations following the occupation of Saigon.

During the "cordial discussions" between Trong and the pope, the two discussed "issues of common interest and expressed the hope that pending situations would soon be resolved that could strengthen a fruitful collaboration," Vatican Spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi said.

The meeting lasted about half an hour and was also attended by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and Secretary for Relations with States, Mons. Dominique Mamberti.

Relations between the two states have been warming since a 2009 meeting between Pope Benedict and Vietnam President Nguyen Minh Triet, and the Vatican appointment of a papal representative for Vietnam, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, in 2011.

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