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Tuesday, May 3, 2005


VATICAN CITY, MAY 3, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration to journalists today following the visit this morning by Italian President Ciampi to the Holy Father:

  "Pope Benedict XVI this morning received the president of the Italian Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, accompanied by his wife. Among the members of the official delegation was Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini.

  "It was a very cordial meeting which allowed for an exchange of ideas on the bilateral relations between Italy and the Holy See.

  "In the course of the meeting, several themes regarding the European situation were discussed.

  "At the end of the visit to the Holy Father, President Ciampi was received by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State."

  Navarro-Valls added that "the Holy Father Benedict XVI, readily accepting the courteous invitation of President Ciampi, will make an official visit to the Quirinale (Italian presidential palace) on Friday June 24, 2005."

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