Vatican City, Jun 21 (EFE).- Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Wednesday met Pope Francis in the Vatican for 45 minutes and the two discussed world peace, along with other matters.
The Brazilian leader thanked the Pope on social media for the audience and for the “good conversation about peace in the world.”
The behind-doors meeting took place in the Vatican close to the residence of the Pope, who recently underwent surgery for hernia.
The meeting was followed by the Brazilian delegation meeting the Pope and the traditional exchange of gifts.
Lula, who had received a letter from the Argentine-origin Pope while in prison, gifted him a print of the painting Sagrada Familia by Pernambuco-based artist JF Borges.
On his part, Francis presented Lula with his 2023 Message of Peace, the document on human brotherhood and the book on Statio Orbis from Mar. 27, 2020, when he had prayed for the end of the pandemic at a deserted St Peter’s Square.
Lula invited the pontiff to make another visit to Brazil – as his first international visit as Pope had been to Rio de Janeiro in July 2013 – and attend the festival honoring Our Lady of Nazareth in October.
The Brazilian president’s office had already announced that he intended to discuss the fight against hunger with the Pope along with other issues such as his initiative to end the Ukraine war.
Lula has proposed forming a group of countries to mediate in possible negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow, although his proposal has elicited little response from the international community.
The Brazilian leader arrived in the Vatican in a convoy of around 15 official cars along with the first lady, and was received at the doors of the Paul VI audience hall by the Pope’s aide, Leonardo Sapienza.
After his Vatican visit, Lula is set to meet Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Wednesday evening at her official residence and seat of power, the Chigi Palace in Rome.
He will also meet Rome’s mayor Roberto Gualtieri, an old friend who had met Lula in prison while he was behind bars on corruption charges that were later revoked by the judiciary. On Thursday, the Brazilian president will fly to Paris for the next stop of his Europe tour. EFE