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Friday, February 20, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 20 FEB 2009 (VIS) - On 16 and 17 February a Holy See delegation led by Msgr. Pietro Parolin, under-secretary for Relations with States, travelled to Vietnam at the invitation of the government there, where it participated in the first session of the Vietnam - Holy See Working Group on bilateral diplomatic relations. The meeting was held in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

  "At the meeting", an English-language joint communique states, "Vice Minister Nguyen Quoc Cuong emphasised Vietnam's consistent policy on the freedom of belief as well as the achievements and current situation on religious affairs in Vietnam's recent years. Vice Minster Cuong expressed his wish for the Holy See's active contribution to the life of the Catholic community in Vietnam, the strengthening of solidarity between religions and of the entire Vietnamese population, and the strong cohesion of the Catholic Church in Vietnam with the nation through practical contributions to national reconstruction".

  Msgr. Parolin "took note of the explanations made by the Vietnamese delegation on the policy of freedom of religion and belief, recognising that positive progress has been made in religious life in Vietnam, and wished that the remaining unsolved maters in bilateral relations between Vietnam and the Holy See could be settled with goodwill through sincere dialogue. Msgr. Parolin emphasised the Holy See's policy to respect the independence and sovereignty of Vietnam, by which the Church's religious activities will not be conducted for political purposes. He also stressed that the Church in its teaching invites the faithful to be good citizens, working for the common good of the country".

  "The two sides also acknowledged the encouraging development in relations between Vietnam and the Holy See since 1990" and agreed that "efforts should be made to promote bilateral ties".
OP/WORKING GROUP/VIETNAM                VIS 20090220 (310)

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