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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Pope, Myanmar leader meet, launch diplomatic relations

Shortly after Pope Francis met privately with Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, the Holy See and Myanmar announced they were establishing full diplomatic relations.

The Vatican announced on 4th May that the pope would appoint a nuncio to the southeast Asian nation and that Myanmar would name an ambassador to the Vatican. The agreement brings to 183 the number of countries with which the Holy See has full diplomatic relations.

Suu Kyi, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, had spent almost 15 years of the period between 1989 and 2010 under house arrest. Her party, the National League for Democracy, won the general election in 2015 and she was named the de facto head of government in April 2016.

Welcomed to the Vatican by Pope Francis, Suu Kyi took his hand and bowed her head. She and the pope met privately for more than 20 minutes before her entourage entered the papal library.

She gave Pope Francis a small bas relief of a dove and Pope Francis gave her a new medallion illustrating a passage from the Book of Isaiah, ‘The wilderness will become a fruitful field’.

Picture: Pope Francis walks with Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Myanmar, during a private audience at the Vatican on 4th May. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).