ColombiaOne.comColombia newsColombia's Petro Discusses Peace with Pope Francis in Vatican Meeting

Colombia’s Petro Discusses Peace with Pope Francis in Vatican Meeting

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Colombia Petro Peace Pope Francis
The primary focus of the meeting revolved around Colombia’s peace agenda, particularly the ongoing process with the National Liberation Army. Credit: Colombian Presidency / CC BY-SA 4.0 /

In the early hours of Friday, January 19th, Colombian President Petro met with Pope Francis at the Vatican. This significant encounter, marking Petro’s first private audience with the pope since assuming the presidency, centered around the critical theme of peace. The meeting, following Petro’s participation in the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, lasted over 40 minutes and symbolized a profound moment for Colombian diplomacy.

Colombia’s pursuit of peace: A central theme in Vatican discussions

During this historic meeting, President Petro presented Pope Francis with a ruana, a traditional Colombian garment, crafted by local artisans, and Colombian coffee. In return, the pope gifted Petro a bronze sculpture depicting two hands clasping, a woman with a child, and a boat carrying migrants, accompanied by the poignant phrase, “Let’s fill our hands with others.” This exchange of gifts underscored the shared values and mutual respect between Colombia and the Vatican.

Colombia’s flag flies in the Vatican

As a gesture of honor, the Vatican raised the Colombian flag during President Petro’s visit, a symbolic act highlighting the importance of this meeting. Following the discussion with Pope Francis, the Colombian delegation, led by President Petro, proceeded to the Secretariat of State for further talks with the Secretary for Relations with States, Paul Richard Gallagher, and a tour of Vatican City.

The primary focus of the meeting revolved around Colombia’s peace agenda, particularly the ongoing process with the National Liberation Army (ELN). President Petro hinted at the possibility of hosting a round of dialogues with the ELN in the Vatican, aiming to deepen the commitment to non-violence. He also touched upon the situation in Nicaragua and Colombia’s role in addressing the dispute.

The climate crisis, a key issue for President Petro, was also discussed. He shared a concrete proposal related to Colombia joining the treaty on non-proliferation of fossil fuels with Pacific island nations, which are currently facing imminent threats due to rising sea levels. This initiative seeks Vatican support to turn the treaty into a reality.

Shared ideals and future collaborations

President Petro reflected on his and the pope’s shared perspectives, both politically and religiously. He cited the pope’s encyclicals as a source of inspiration, particularly in relation to human interaction with nature and the concept of Fratelli Tutti, which aligns with Colombia’s stance on moving away from neoliberal regimes. The Colombian delegation included Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva, Environment Minister Susana Muhamad, Ambassador to the Holy See Alberto Ospina, and Hollman Morris, the Deputy Manager of Public Media Systems.


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