Presidents of Argentina and Chile hope to celebrate 30 years of peace with the Pope


Officials in Argentina and Chile are in discussions with the Holy See about the possibility of President Cristina Fernandez and her Chilean counterpart President Michelle Bachelet holding a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the peace accord between the two countries that was brokered by the Holy See.

This year both nations will commemorate the historic agreement mediated by Cardinal Antonio Samore, who was sent by Pope John Paul II to help prevent a war between the two countries over the ownership of the strategic Picton, Lennox and Nueva islands during the Beagle conflict.

The meeting between the two presidents and the Pontiff, which could take place towards the end of the year, was proposed after it was determined that the initial idea of Pope Benedict XVI visiting the two countries would not be a possibility.

Chile and Argentina are preparing special events to commemorate the role played by Cardinal Samore, considered in both countries to be responsible for preventing an armed conflict between the two heavily Catholic nations.

Both countries recall the words of Cardinal Samore, who uttered the memorable phrase on Christmas Eve of 1978, “I see a small light of hope at the end of the tunnel.”  From that moment on, peace talks proceeded on friendlier terms and a peace treaty was accepted by both countries. The conflict reached a bloodless conclusion when Pope John Paul II presented the final peace treaty in December of 1980.

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