Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina held a meeting with Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of the Catholics of the world, at the Holy See (Vatican City) yesterday (February 12).
The premier`s meeting with the Pope came two months after the Catholic community`s top spiritual leader visited Dhaka largely to use his good office in resolving the Rohingya crisis.
On her arrival at the Vatican City, the Prime Minister was given a static guard of honor.
Later, the Prime Minister held the meeting with the Pope at his office in Vatican City.
Pope Francis has received in audience the Prime Minister of Bangladesh whom he thanked for the nation’s reception of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. A statement released by the Holy See Press Office described the discussions between the two leaders as cordial, and said the two leaders evoked the good bilateral relations and expressed satisfaction for the Pope’s recent apostolic journey to Bangladesh and for “the keen participation in the event on the part of the population including many non-Catholics”.
The statement revealed that the Pope and Hasina also focused their attention on the contribution of the Catholic Church in the country, “especially in the field of education.”
It said that Francis acknowledged the effort of the State of Bangladesh in promoting the peaceful coexistence of the various religious communities in the nation. Most of all, he voiced appreciation for the government’s welcome of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and he expressed hope for “a just and lasting solution to their ordeal”.
Sheikh Hasina also presented a painting on natural beauty of Bangladesh to the Pope who later gave a crest to Sheikh Hasina. The Pope also presented souvenirs to the premier`s entourage members.
In the evening, World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister at her hotel in Rome.
Sheikh Hasina left Bangladesh on a four-day official visit to Italy and Vatican City.