The Swiss president and the head of the Roman Catholic Church praised the excellent bilateral relations between the two states and the fact that they shared similar positions on numerous issues such as peace policy, human rights, sustainable development and humanitarian aid. Both sides underlined the need for a pan-European refugee policy based on solidarity. Mr Berset stressed the importance of International Geneva in promoting multilateralism.
An important topic of the bilateral talks was the search for solutions for peace in conflict areas in the Middle East and the situation of certain religious minorities, including in Myanmar. Finally, the important and long-standing commitment of the Pontifical Swiss Guard was cited as a visible symbol of the bond between Switzerland and the Holy See.
The official talks between Mr Berset and the Pope were followed by a further meeting which was also attended by Mr Cassis and Mr de Buman. The delegation of the Holy See in Geneva included Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Pope Francis visited the World Council of Churches (WCC), which is this year celebrating its 70th anniversary. In the evening, following the ecumenical and pastoral elements of the visit, Mr Berset and Ms Leuthard will bid the Pope farewell on his departure.
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