Colombian President Says Pope Francis Ready to Cooperate in Peace Process.
VATICAN CITY – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos related that during a meeting on Monday, Pope Francis expressed his willingness to help end the “single oldest conflict in Latin America,” referring to the armed conflict between Colombian authorities and FARC guerrilla group.
Santos’s remarks came following an audience at the Vatican, during which the pope said that he would devote his prayers to the Colombian president.
The Argentine pontiff also noted that he would push forward his visit to Colombia, which was announced last March, if progress was made in peace negotiations in the Latin American country, according to Santos.
As for a possible mediation by the Catholic Church and its leader, Santos was cautious and said that they “spoke of possibilities,” which should stem from the desires of the both sides.
The Colombian president remarked that Pope Francis spoke of the victims of the conflict during their 20-minute long meeting.
The pope also told Santos to keep up his guard during the peace process, while the Colombian leader described their brief conversation as “frank and candid” regarding the need for national reconciliation, promoting peace in the country and learning forgiveness.
Among other issues addressed by Santos and the pope was “how Colombia has made progress in providing policies to support the poor and the marginalized, and how they have achieved results” although there is still much to be done.
They also discussed Pope Francis’s upcoming encyclical on the environment, which will be published on Thursday.
After the meeting, President Santos met with the Vatican’s secretary of state, Pietro Parolin, and then left directly for Oslo.