The Burmese opposition leader, a former political prisoner in her country, is currently on a visit to Europe and on Sunday was made an honorary citizen of Rome.
After the private meeting between Aung San Suu Kyi and Francis, Vatican press office director, Father Federico Lombardi briefed journalists and described what he called “a great feeling of harmony and accord” between the Pope and this “symbolic figure of the Asian world”.
The themes touched upon during their cordial exchange included the culture of encounter and inter-religious dialogue.
During the meeting, which took place in the Papal Library, Francis expressed his appreciation for Aung San Suu Kyi’s commitment towards democracy in her country, and assured her of the Church’s support towards this cause. But he specified that no kind of discrimination is expressed by the Church which is at the service of all with its charitable works.
Father Lombardi also recalled the Pope’s attention towards the Asian continent and his desire to visit it.
Suu Kyi has become an international symbol of peaceful resistance in the face of oppression.
She has spent most of the last two decades in some form of detention because of her efforts to bring democracy to military-ruled Burma. She was re-elected to parliament in 2012.Suu Kyi received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and earlier was awarded the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990.
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