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Benedict XVI meets heads of state from Bangladesh and Burundi

.- Following his general audience Wednesday afternoon, Pope Benedict XVI met with Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh and on Tuesday evening met with Pierre Nkurunziza, president of the Republic of Burundi.

The Holy Father and Prime Minister Hasina cordially discussed opinions on the current state of Bangladesh as well as the primary challenges facing the country today. The conversation touched on the current efforts in Bangladesh to promote a society open to and respectful of human rights and also referenced the relationship between church and state authorities. Attention was given to the valued contributions that the Catholic Church has made to Bangladeshi society through education, healthcare, social life and general assistance.

After her meeting with the Pope, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was greeted by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

Tuesday evening in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, Pope Benedict received in audience Pierre Nkurunziza, president of the Republic of Burundi.

Pope Benedict and the Burundi President addressed topics of mutual interest during the amicable discussion, such as the fundamental importance of dialogue and the respect for human rights in creating a stable society. The Holy Father and President Nkurunziza also discussed the Catholic Church's commitment to contributing to the development of the country by means of spiritual assistance, education, health care, and social-humanitarian work.

Also discussed was the potential for a framework agreement to guarantee the juridical status of the Catholic Church and her activities in Burundi.

After his conversation with the Pope, President Pierre Nkurunziza went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., along with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.


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