Remarks After Meeting With Secretary of State of the Holy See Pietro Parolin

Remarks

John Kerry
Secretary of State

Villa Richardson

Rome, Italy

January 14, 2014


Well, let me just say that it was a privilege for me as the first Catholic Secretary of State in about 32 or 33 years to have the privilege of going to the Vatican today to talk with the new Secretary of State there about the broad array of issues that we face together across the world. And on a personal level, it was a thrill for me to be able to do that, as an altar boy, as a young kid, I would never have imagined that I would have been crossing the threshold of the Vatican to meet, as Secretary of State, with the Secretary of State of the Holy See.

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In addition, the Secretary – Archbishop Parolin asked me for a solid briefing with respect to the Middle East peace process. Pope Francis will be going to Israel and the Palestinian territories and to Jordan in May, and so we agreed, after I gave a briefing, that we would stay in touch in order to keep him abreast of what we’re doing and then what progress there may be in the peace process. But obviously, there are issues of enormous concern to the Holy See, not just about peace, but also about the freedom of access for religious worship in Jerusalem for all religions and appropriate resolution with respect to Jerusalem that respects that going forward.

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So I’m grateful for the conversation we had today. I know that the Holy Father is anticipating the visit of President Obama here, and the President is looking forward to coming here to meet with him. So much was agreed on as a mutual agenda this morning, and I’m particularly pleased to know that the Holy Father and the Secretary of State in the Holy See will continue to speak out about peace in the Middle East, continue to try to bring the parties together, continue to help address some of the most pressing concerns that are challenging failed states and failing states in too many parts of the world.

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Thank you very much.