The Greek Prime Minister, Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, met with the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, who is paying, today, a visit to Greece.
During their meeting, they discussed issues of mutual interest. The Greek Prime Minister thanked the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church for his visit to Greece in a very important year that our country celebrates its 200th anniversary since the beginning of the Greek Revolution, expressing his appreciation for the interest the Pope shows to major issues.
Earlier today, Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with the Secretary of State of the Holy See (Prime Minister), Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
At the beginning of their meeting they had the following dialogue:
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: We still have very vivid memories from the visit of His Holiness in 2016, when he visited Greece during the refugee crisis. I am sure that, tomorrow, when he visits Lesvos, he will see a much improved situation.
Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin: Yes, I have indeed been informed that the situation has radically changed.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: It has, indeed. We have made a great effort. First of all we have created decent migration structutes for those living on our islands. Because, as you already know, the previous structure in Moria was a nightmarish place. And, now, His Holiness will visit another structure that remains temporary, but meets all the hygiene rules and is also a decent one.
And it offers people, who have gone through incredible hardships, the opportunity to apply for asylum in good conditions. And, of course, our intention is to build modern structures on these islands and collaborate with the EU to ensure the implementation of this project. Of course Greece is a country that has welcomed many refugees in the past and will continue to do so.
At the same time, we should collaborate with Turkey to ensure that flows are further reduced and to dismantle trafficking circuits that are, in effect, instrumentalizing the suffering of desperate people. What we want to do is ensure that there are legal migration routes. For example, we welcomed more than 700 women from Afghanistan with their families and did our best to offer them international protection.
Refugees from Afghanistan
Secretary of State for the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin: Did they come straight from Kabul?
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: They came from Kabul through other countries.
Secretary of State for the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin: It is very difficult to get out of Kabul. Isn’t it?
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: * It was something really difficult. We have collaborated with well-known and trusted international Non-Governmental Organizations. And I was given the opportunity to meet some of these women and their families. What’s going on in Afghanistan is something really sad, especially after the whole progress that has been made in recent years concerning the rights of women. But we felt we had a moral obligation to help these women and their families.
The Secretary of State of the Holy See (Prime Minister), Cardinal Pietro Parolin met with the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Nikos Dendias, the Prime minister’s chief diplomatic adviser, Ambassador Eleni Sourani and the Greek Ambassador to the Holy See, Mr. Panos Kalogeropoulos
On behalf of the Holy See, Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, Deputy Secretary of State, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher and Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, Apostolic Nuncio to Greece were also present in the meeeting.