Costa Rican Leader Has Papal Audience

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 5, 2004 ( Church-state relations and the situation in Latin America were the key issues discussed when Costa Rican President Abel Pacheco visited the Vatican.

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During a brief audience with the Central American leader, John Paul II expressed his pleasure over «the existing collaboration between the Church and the authorities of your country, which I keep very present in my memory ever since I had the occasion to visit it.»

«I very much hope that your people will continue to go forward on the firm base of a just, solidaristic, responsible and peaceful society,» the Pope said in his Spanish-language address.

The 10-minute audience took place in a private room of Paul VI Hall, where the Holy Father was scheduled to meet with thousands of university students.

After the private audience, the Pacheco met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

«Topics were addressed regarding Church-state relations in Costa Rica, and current problems affecting international relations, in particular, those referring to Latin America,» Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls said in a statement.

The Costa Rican government in recent months has been promoting at the United Nations a treaty for a global ban on all types of human cloning.

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