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Argentine president brings anniversary wishes to pope

Francis, Kirchner lunch privately inside Vatican after meeting

17 March, 16:54
Argentine president brings anniversary wishes to pope (Updates previous) (ANSA) - Vatican City, March 17 - Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner brought best wishes Monday to Pope Francis from the people of his homeland on his first anniversary as pontiff, said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.

The pair met for lunch and Kirchner told the pope of the "the best wishes and feelings of affection of the people of Argentina" for Francis, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires.

The pontiff greeted the president and her official delegation at the Santa Marta guesthouse where Francis lives inside the Vatican, according to Lombardi.

Kirchner had met the pope twice before, once in the Vatican soon after his election one year ago and later at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro last July. The pair lunched together privately after a short meeting that included Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, who limped into the meeting after reportedly being treated and having an x-ray at a Rome hospital for a sprained ankle. Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin also attended the pre-lunch meeting.

Kirchner and Francis reportedly had strained relations when Francis was the archbishop of Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital city.