(ZENIT News / Rome, 21.09.2023).- The first part of the mission the Pope entrusted to Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, Archbishop of Bologna and President of the Italian Bishops, ended after his official visit to the Chinese capital. After visiting the capitals of Ukraine and Russia, Cardinal Zuppi met with two major players on the world stage: Washington and Beijing.
China was the last place visited by the Pope’s envoy, which was also a diplomatic novelty given that China doesn’t have diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
Progress after this first stage seems to be the official opening of the Russian Government: in mid-September, several Russian agencies reported statements of Sergei Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, on the willingness of Putin’s Government to talk with Cardinal Zuppi about a peaceful solution to the conflict. “The Vatican’s efforts continue, whose envoy is planning to visit us again. We are ready to meet with all, to talk with all,” he said. This opened the doors to a second visit of the Pope’s envoy, which is also a new stage in the Vatican’s peace mission. Days after Lavrov’s statements, Alexander Grushko, Russian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, stressed that a “suitable strategy is underway.”
Cardinal Zuppi, the Pope’s envoy, visited Moscow from June 28-30. During this visit, he met on the 28thwith Yuri Ushakov, adviser to the Russian President on Foreign Affairs issues, then with Maria Llova-Belova, Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights on the 29th, with the Patriarch of Moscow [also] on the 29thand, finally, on the 30th, the Pope’s envoy met again with Yuri Ushakov.
This opening by Russia coincides with the statements of Dmytro Lubinets, the Commissioner of Human Rights of the Ukrainian Parliament, who said to TV2000: “I believe the Pope can be a mediator. I believe that in this war between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, the Holy See can play the role of mediator,” adding that “the Holy See’s peace mission is very important. We very much appreciate the work of Pope Francis’ Special Envoy for peace in Ukraine. I believe Cardinal Zuppi will be the person that in fact will create a bridge between the Ukrainians families and the deported children. We can reunite Ukrainian families with their deported children in the Russian territories.”