Russian Premier Meets With John Paul II

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 26, 2001 ( John Paul II received Mikhail Kasyanov, the president of the Council of the Russian Federation, who arrived with an entourage at the Vatican.

Following the half-hour papal audience, the Russian premier met with the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in a statement.

“In the course of the discussions held in a very cordial atmosphere, there was an exchange of opinions on the situation in Russia and Europe, as well as on the bilateral relations between the Russian Federation and the Vatican,” Navarro-Valls reported. His statement made no allusion to a possible papal trip to Moscow.

The Russian Catholic bishops personally met with the Pope earlier this month and briefed him on the situation of the Church in that country and the new law on religious liberty which at times restricts the work of Catholic priests and missionaries.

This morning, the Holy Father also received Polish Foreign Minister Wladislaw Bartoszewski.

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