· U.S. Secretary of State received in the Vatican on Tuesday ·
On Tuesday morning, 14 January, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, met with John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State, at the Vatican.
In a cordial atmosphere, the important and productive meeting lasted for an hour and forty minutes. Mr Kenneth Francis Hackett, the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, along with three staff members of the Secretary of State, were present at the meeting. Accompanying Archbishop Parolin were Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States, and two officials versed in the topics of their discussion.
In view of the Geneva II international peace conference, scheduled to take place 22 January, they addressed the issue of the Middle East, particularly the situation in Syria. They acknowledged the wishes and concerns of the Holy See, which Pope Francis recently highlighted in his speech to the Diplomatic Corps including the desire for a peaceful solution to conflicts and also the commitment to humanitarian aid for peoples experiencing trials. They discussed the importance of the success and the continuation of negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
Africa was also a topic of conversation, particularly the situation in the Sudan region which is becoming increasingly more serious. They expressed the hope that mediation between the parties may reach a positive agreement.
Finally the Holy See expressed its concern, as well as that of the U.S. Bishops, for the healthcare reforms in relation to the guarantee of religious freedom and conscientious objection. They also discussed the President of the United States' plan to fight poverty and improve the situations of the poor.