May 21, 2013
CFK asks Pope for his 'holy intervention' over Malvinas case
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner told reporters to be surprised by the Pope Francis’ invitation to share lunch with her, and revealed she asked the pontiff for his "holy intervention" ovewr Malvinas case in a press release celebrated at the Vatican.
“We exchanged gifts, I gave him a hand-made maté set and a vicuna poncho from Catamarca province so he can be well protected during the Italian winter. Then he gave me a very personal gift which was a white rose that he said it represents Saint Teresa, to whom he prays all the time.”
“I encountered a very calm and secured man who was in total peace. Nevertheless, I also met a very concerned man for his upcoming responsibilities.”
CFK also revealed that during their dialogue, she asked Francis for his “holy intervention in the Malvinas case so that Great Britain can understand the resolutions issued by the United Nations calling them [UK] to join Argentina in a negotiating table”, in order to discuss the sovereignty of the Malvinas, South Georgia, and South Sandwich islands in the South Atlantic.
Likewise, Fernández said that Francis praised the “great role” and “unity” that Latin American leaders are showing in order to build ‘La Patria Grande’ [The Greater Fatherland].
"He did use the term “Patria Grande”, the president explained and continued “and then he told me he had used that term because it was the term used by our great San Martín and Bolivar”, thus referring to the most emblematic and greater leaders of the independence movement in Latin America.
Fernández de Kirchner met this morning with Pope Francis at the Domus Sanctae Marthae in the Vatican City to have a private lunch. The Argentine president brought up numerous gifts for the pontiff during their first exchange.
Under a warm and very informal environment, the Head of State gave Francis a maté set consisting of a leather bag containing a hand-made maté pot, a bombilla (drinking straw), and a thermos flask.
The lunch with the pontiff started at 12:50pm (8:50am Argentine time). The original plan contemplated the presence of Argentine Ambassador to the Vatican Juan Pablo Cafiero and Papal Nuncio in Argentina Emil Paul Tscherrig, but then it was changed to a two-person only lunch so Fernández can have a private exchange with the recently-elected Pope.
The agenda of issues to be discussed at the meeting was not revealed.
Sources indicated that Fernández could attend the press afterwards and at the lobby of the hotel she’s staying in Rome.
Fernández had left for Rome a day earlier than originally planned in order to meet with Francis, arriving yesterday at 4pm local time and making her way directly to a hotel in the Italian capital.
Fernández de Kirchner’s official spokesperson, Alfredo Scoccimarro, revealed that the head of state had originally planned to depart on Sunday but that the trip had been brought forward a day to accommodate the meeting, a day before his papal coronation, while the President refused to attend to the press upon her arrival.
Thus, Argentina’s President became the first head of state to hold a private audience with the Pope.
The President, who is accompanied by an official delegation of 12 members, will also attend tomorrow’s ceremony along with approximately 150 other heads of state, after which she will return to Buenos Aires. Argentina was provided with extra places for its delegation because it is the country of the pope’s origins, as other countries’ leaders will be accompanied by a maximum of four officials.
Fernández de Kirchner’s delegation includes Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricardo Lorenzetti, Lower House Speaker Julián Domínguez and Radical (UCR) Deputy Ricardo Alfonsín, the latter of whom departed separately on Friday with his wife. Timerman arrived on Saturday and welcomed the President at the airport with Argentine Ambassadors to Italy Torcuato di Tella and to the Vatican Juan Pablo Cafiero.
Also included in the delegation are Argentine Synod head José María Arancedo, Bishop Carlos Alberto Acaputo, who heads the Church’s social-pastoral work team, pro-government CGT umbrella union grouping leader Antonio Caló, taxi-drivers’ union leader Omar Viviani and longshoremen’s union head Omar Suárez.
The delegation was later expanded, with the inclusion of Public Communications Secretary Scoccimarro, Argentine Industrial Union (UIA) President José Ignacio de Mendi-guren and Argentine Municipalities Federation head Julio Pereyra (the mayor of Florencio Varela).