The Vatican Reveals Pope's and Holy See's Role in U.S.-Cuba Breakthrough

U.S. President Obama and delegation pose with Pope Francis during private audience at Vatican.

The following note has just been issued by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State communicating Pope Francis’ congratulations to US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro for the historic decision by both Governments to establish diplomatic relations and with the aim of overcoming the difficulties between the two countries.

The note also gives the first official insight into the direct role played by Pope Francis, the first pope from the Americas, and by the Holy See in helping reach this goal.  

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It reveals that the Pope wrote to both Presidents in past months inviting them to resolve humanitarian questions and open a new phase in the history of relations between the two sides.

It also reveals that the Vatican hosted delegations from both sides last October, and used its good offices to facilitate the dialogue that made today’s agreement possible.

 No doubt much more information on the Pope’s role and that of the Holy See will emerge in the coming days and weeks.

Here follows the text of the Vatican’s statement in English and Spanish:

Communiqué of the Secretariat of State

The Holy Father wishes to express his warm congratulations for the historic decision taken by the Governments of the United States of America and Cuba to establish diplomatic relations, with the aim of overcoming, in the interest of the citizens of both countries, the difficulties which have marked their recent history.

In recent months, Pope Francis wrote letters to the President of the Republic of Cuba, His Excellency Mr Raúl Castro, and the President of the United States, The Honorable Barack H. Obama, and invited them to resolve humanitarian questions of common interest, including the situation of certain prisoners, in order to initiate a new phase in relations between the two Parties.

The Holy See received Delegations of the two countries in the Vatican last October and provided its good offices to facilitate a constructive dialogue on delicate matters, resulting in solutions acceptable to both Parties.

The Holy See will continue to assure its support for initiatives which both nations will undertake to strengthen their bilateral relations and promote the wellbeing of their respective citizens.

From the Vatican, 17th December 2014

Comunicado de la Secretaría de Estado

El Santo Padre se complace vivamente por la histórica decisión de los Gobiernos de los Estados Unidos de América y de Cuba de establecer relaciones diplomáticas, con el fin de superar, por el interés de los respectivos ciudadanos, las dificultades que han marcado su historia reciente.

En el curso de los últimos meses, el Santo Padre Francisco ha escrito al Presidente de la República de Cuba, el Excelentísimo Señor Raúl Castro, y al Presidente de los Estados Unidos, el Excelentísimo Señor Barack H. Obama, invitándoles a resolver cuestiones humanitarias de común interés, como la situación de algunos detenidos, para dar inicio a una nueva fase de las relaciones entre las dos Partes.

La Santa Sede, acogiendo en el Vaticano, el pasado mes de octubre, a las Delegaciones de los dos Países, ha querido ofrecer sus buenos oficios para favorecer un diálogo constructivo sobre temas delicados, del que han surgido soluciones satisfactorias para ambas Partes.

La Santa Sede continuará apoyando las iniciativas que las dos Naciones emprenderán para acrecentar sus relaciones bilaterales y favorecer el bienestar de sus respectivos ciudadanos.

Vaticano, 17 de diciembre de 2014

[Texto original: Italiano]

 

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