VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2012 ( Pope Benedict XVI received in audience Alassane Ouattara, president of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire at the Vatican Apostolic Palace. Shortly after, President Ouattara met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

In a communique released by the Holy See, the discussions that took place during the meeting emphasized the cordial relations that exist between the Holy See and the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire. Cardinal Bertone and President Ouattara also spoke regarding "the convergence of opinions on the contribution the Church makes for the good of the entire country, encouraging peace and promoting human rights, dialogue and national reconciliation, as the only way to favor unity and development"

"Emphasis was also given to the fruitful collaboration between Church and State in the sectors of healthcare and education, among others. The hope was expressed that the negotiations for an agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire would soon be concluded," the communique stated.

The representatives of the Holy See and the president of Cote d'Ivoire discussed the several regional challenges in Africa which were of "particular concern to Mr. Ouattara in his role as president of the Economic Community of West African States."