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Vatican Foreign Minister Voices 'Solidarity' With Georgia

The Vatican's foreign minister has voiced support for Georgia during the first such visit to the South Caucasus nation in 11 years.

Archbishop Dominique Mamberti is on a three-day visit to the mainly Orthodox Christian country that is at odds with neighboring Russia.

After meeting with Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze on September 15, Mamberti said the Vatican-Tbilisi relationship "has been significantly intensified, especially during the last few years."

He said issues they discussed "continue to challenge Georgia" and that "the Holy See continues to manifest its solidarity with your country."

On September 16, Mamberti was to visit a village on the boundary line with breakaway South Ossetia, which Russia recognized as an independent nation after repelling Georgian forces in a 2008 war.

Mamberti met the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, on September 14.

With reporting by

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