VATICAN CITY, NOV. 20, 2012 ( Pope Benedict XVI received in audience the president of the Republic of Benin, Thomas Bony Yayi at the Vatican Apostolic Palace.

President Bony Yayi met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States shortly after his meeting with the Holy Father.

According to a press release by the Holy See, the discussions that took place during the meeting emphasized the friendly relations that exist between the Holy See and the Republic of Benin. The Holy Father and President Bony Yayi spoke on a wide range of issues which include the value of local African cultures and the importance of the Church regarding education, peace and reconciliation. The Holy Father's apostolic visit to Benin last year was also recalled as "a positive contribution of the Catholic Church to the development of the country."

President Bony Yayi and Cardinal Bertone discussed several regional challenges that are affecting the continent of Africa, due to the president of Benin's status as the current President of the African Union.