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Russia's Medvedev Meets Pope At Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI greets Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a private audience at the Vatican today.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican today.

It was the first visit to the Holy See by a Russian leader since the establishment of full-fledged diplomatic relations between Moscow and the Vatican in 2009.

In a statement, the Vatican said, "The parties expressed their pleasure at the good state of bilateral relations and highlighted their desire to strengthen them.

"Emphasis was given to the positive contribution interreligious dialogue can make to society." it added.

The meeting comes as Medvedev continues a two-day visit to Italy. On February 16, he inaugurated a Russian-Italian cultural exchange year with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at a Rome museum.

The two also had talks focusing on joint projects in the energy sector, including the construction of the South Stream gas transport network to Southern Europe via the Black Sea.

compiled from agency reports