Macedonian President Visits Pope

Consider nation’s desires to join the European Union

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The president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, visited Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday.

The president went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.

According to a working translation of a Vatican statement, during the discussions, «the Parties expressed their satisfaction at the existing good bilateral relations, and their hope for the realisation of the country’s aspirations and increasing efforts to join the European Union.»

«Attention then turned to various themes of international politics in the current global context, also in relation to persistent difficulties of an economic and social nature, and the need for joint efforts to offer assistance to the great number of refugees arriving in the region,» the statement added. «Finally, the Parties recognised the importance of further encouraging the co-existence of and dialogue between the various ethnic and religious groups in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.»

Of Macedonia’s 2 million people, most are Macedonian Orthodox (64.8%). A third of the population is Muslim, with other Christians making up less than 1%.


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