(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the (Vatican) Secretary of State, said on Thursday that Pope Francis played a very significant role in facilitating the rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuba. Speaking in an exclusive interview with Vatican Radio, Cardinal Parolin spoke of the Holy See’s satisfaction over the agreement between the U.S. and Cuba to restore diplomatic ties and praised the leaders of the two nations for their courageous decision.
Please listen to the interview and also find below the full written transcript of Cardinal Parolin’s remarks in English:
Q. What was the specific role of Pope Francis – the first Pope to come from the South American continent?
A. I would like to repeat the satisfaction of the Holy See for this important step in the relations between the United States and Cuba. And also to stress that the role of the Holy Father was very significant in this conclusion. Of course, in the sense that since the beginning of his pontificate, he has stressed the importance for the person and the groups and people to meet together. What we have called the culture of encounter. I think that this is the proper word. But his teaching then, his teaching which also pointed out this importance and this necessity. At the same time, the help to the two parties, the United States and Cuba, writing to the two presidents and stressing the importance of finding a solution to their historical differences.
Q. What was the Holy See’s diplomatic role in these negotiations?
A. In this case, the Holy See has tried to facilitate the dialogue between the two parties according to the, let’s say, the objective that the Holy Father Pope Francis has given to the diplomacy of the Holy See. Which is of course traditional in its history, but now he (it) has (a) new accent (emphasis) because of the situation, the particular situation of our world – which is to build bridges between persons and groups and nations. And then it was, let’s say, a service of facilitating and of promoting the dialogue between the two parties.
Q. The roles of President Obama and the Cuban President were also important in these negotiations…
A. Of course, of course. I would like to, just to highlight the courage they had in this decision. It is a decision, I think...very important and of course, not everybody agrees with that but I think that it was important from the side of the two presidents to have the courage and the strength to make such a decision. And I think that we have really, finally, at the end, to thank God who inspired such good sentiments and intentions (of) the two leaders. Hoping that this example could be taken by many other leaders in the region and in the world and to try, really, to overcome differences and conflict through negotiation and through dialogue.
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