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LATIN AMERICA | 31-05-2023 23:50

Lula invites Pope Francis to Brazil

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Wednesday he had invited Pope Francis to visit Brazil.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Wednesday he had invited Pope Francis to visit Brazil, during a phone call in which they also discussed seeking peace in Ukraine and fighting poverty.

The veteran leftist did not give a date for a possible trip by the Argentine pontiff, who last visited Brazil, the world's largest Catholic country, in 2013 – the first overseas trip of his papacy.

Francis has recently expressed his desire to visit his homeland, though he has ruled out visiting during this election year.

"I just spoke with Pope Francis. I congratulated him for his efforts in defence of peace in Ukraine and the fight against poverty," Lula wrote on Twitter.

Lula, 77, who previously led Brazil from 2003 to 2010 and returned for a new term in January, has sought to position himself as a mediator on the Ukraine war – though he has faced accusations in the West of being overly cozy with Russia.

The veteran politician also thanked the pope for the Church's work to protect the Amazon rainforest.

Lula will meet Francis at the Vatican in "June or July," his office said in a statement, while the pope "agreed to evaluate the invitation and the possibility of a visit to Brazil."

The duo last met in Rome in 2020.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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