Pope Francis on Wednesday met with Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, who is on an official visit to the Vatican.
Mirzoyan took the opportunity to brief the pontiff about the current situation in the region, following the large-scale attack launched by Azerbaijan on September 13 on Armenia’s sovereign territories.
The foreign minister also emphasized the need to address humanitarian issues stemming from the latest attack, as well as the 44-Day War in Artsakh in 2020, according to the foreign ministry’s press office.
Mirzoyan told the pope that his visit to the Vatican coincided with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Holy See, making it an opportune time to discuss strengthening bi-lateral relations.
He thank Francis for his messages of peace and stability during the 44-Day War, as well as during subsequent unrest in the region.
On Tuesday, Mirzoyan discussed the issue of Armenian prisoners of war being illegally held by Azerbaijan with Edgar Peña Parra, the Vatican’s acting foreign affairs secretary, and other high-ranking representatives of the Holy See.
In discussing humanitarian issues, Mirzoyan emphasized the need for the immediate release of Armenian POWs and civilians who are still illegally held in Azerbaijan, and the preservation of Armenian historical and cultural heritage in the territories that have come under the Azerbaijani control.
Mirzoyan also provided a briefing about the current situation on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border.
Peña Parra’s visit to Armenia last year was recalled during the meeting. He was awarded the Order of Friendship for his significant contributions to the development and strengthening of the inter-state relations between Armenia and the Holy See.
As part of his visit to the Vatican, Mirzoyan also visited the Levonian Armenian Seminary where he with the Patriarch Catholicos of Armenian Catholics of the House of Cilicia Raphael Bedros XXI Minassian.
According to Armenia’s foreign ministry, during the meeting with the Patriarch, Mirzoyan emphasized the role of the Armenian Catholic Church has played in the expansion of Armenia-Diaspora ties and answered the questions of the clergy participating in the meeting.