16 Sep 2020 10:42

Pope of Rome to consider possibility of visiting Belarus - Vatican Secretary of State Parolin

MINSK. Sept 16 (Interfax) - Pope Francis will consider the possibility of visiting Belarus, according to Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.

"I think this is one of the visits to be considered by the Pope," the website of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus quoted Parolin as saying.

"Belarus has been invariably demonstrating a keen interest in the Pope's visit," Parolin said, adding that "the plans have not been made specific" and the coronavirus epidemic has put everything on hold for an indefinite period of time.

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei confirmed at a meeting with the Secretary for Relations with States within the Holy See's Secretariat of State Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher on September 11 that Pope Francis had been invited to visit Belarus.

"I would like to convey to Pope Francis that the invitation to pay a visit to Belarus remains standing," Makei said.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko paid official visits to the Vatican twice and met with Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, he said.

Makei said he views Gallagher's visit as a "confirmation of the existence of special relations, mutual understanding, and trust between Belarus and the Holy See." "We are pleased with the dynamics of the development of recent contacts at the high and summit levels between Belarus and the Vatican," the minister said.