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Mike Pompeo’s visit to Italy sparks controversy

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ROME — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Italy and the Vatican sparked a lot of controversy. Some, accuse him of using his visit to the Vatican for purely electoral purposes, in order to win over President Donald Trump the votes of conservative Catholics, which he would really need. Many others, who were critics of the meeting organized by the US embassy to the Holy See on Wednesday on “religious freedom” concur.

Pompeo, who visited Greece before arriving in Rome, was received on Wednesday by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and by Chancellor Luigi Di Maio. But before these meetings, he participated in a very brief symposium – of just over two hours – on religious freedom, organized by the United States embassy to the Holy See and to which they invited Vatican exponents.

At the symposium, Pompeo directed all his weapons against China, today the main economic enemy of the United States.

“Nowhere is religious freedom persecuted more than in China,” said Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, who days ago had asked Pope Francis not to renew existing agreements between the Vatican and China on the appointment of bishops.

The subject of the China-Vatican agreements will continue Thursday, when Pompeo visits the Holy See where he will be alongside Cardinal Parolin, his equivalent since both are secretaries of state, but not by Pope Francis, who denied the Secretary of State’s request for an audience. Francis, who had accepted Pompeo a year ago, has as a rule not to receive political leaders whose country is in an electoral campaign.

“Yes, he asked. But the pope had already said clearly that political figures are not received in election periods. That is the reason,” stated Parolin.

After the symposium, Pompeo was received by Conte at Chigi Palace, seat of government, and then by Maio. With both, the topics discussed had to do with China but also with bilateral and international collaboration to contrast the covid-19 and the crisis in the Mediterranean.

Rosario Boulay
Rosario Boulayhttps://theballout.com
Host, Journalist and World reporter for The Ball Out.

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