Vat­i­can plays down sig­nif­i­cance of Pope Fran­cis Falk­lands photo

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

The Vat­i­can on Thurs­day played down the sig­nif­i­cance of Pope Fran­cis agree­ing to pose for a pic­ture with a plac­ard call­ing for Bri­tain-Ar­gentina talks over the dis­puted Falk­land Is­lands.

The Ar­gen­tinian pon­tiff was handed the sign on Wed­nes­day dur­ing his weekly walk­a­bout in St Peter’s square. The Span­ish text read: “The time has come for di­a­logue be­tween Ar­gentina and the United King­dom on the Malv­inas” -- us­ing the Span­ish term for the Falk­lands.

A Vat­i­can spokesman sug­gested that the Ar­gen­tinian pope may not even have been aware of what was writ­ten on the plac­ard.

“It hap­pened dur­ing a gen­eral au­di­ence when many be­liev­ers present the pope with all sorts of ob­jects, of­ten to have a pho­to­graph taken,” said spokesman Ciro Benedet­tini.

On his re­cent trip to Bo­livia, Fran­cis was pre­sented with a sculp­ture of the ham­mer and sickle em­blem of com­mu­nism that was made by an as­sas­si­nat- ed left-wing priest.

Af­ter the photo went vi­ral, Fran­cis felt the need to ex­plain that, while he ad­mired the priest, he did not share his rev­o­lu­tion­ary views.

Bri­tain re­jects Ar­gentina’s re- quests for di­a­logue over the longterm fu­ture of the Falk­lands, in­sist­ing there is noth­ing to dis­cuss since 99.8 per­cent of the is­lan­ders voted in a 2013 ref­er­en­dum to re­main a Bri­tish over­seas ter­ri­tory.

AP

A plac­ard which reads, “It’s time for di­a­logue be­tween Ar­gentina and the United King­dom for Falk­lands,” is held by faith­ful as Pope Fran­cis is greeted dur­ing the weekly gen­eral au­di­ence in the Paul VI hall at the Vat­i­can, Wed­nes­day, Aug. 19.

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