Vatican City, 26 October 2013 (VIS) – This morning, Saturday 16 October, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience the president of the Republic of Panama, Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal, who subsequently went on to meet with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
During the colloquial discussions, the parties discussed various themes relevant to the current situation of the country, especially in relation to the social policies initiated by the Government, and development projects for the nation. The country's long Christian tradition was mentioned, and the historic bilateral links were emphasised as being of particular interest with regard to current relations between the Church and the State. In this respect, gratitude was expressed for the gift of a statue of Santa Maria La Antigua, patroness of the nation, offered to the Pontiff by the head of State and placed in the Vatican Gardens. The conversation then turned to a panoramic view of the regional situation.