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Saturday, 8 April 2000

Official visit to Vatican

On April 8th, the President of the Republic of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski, and his wife started official visit to His Holines Pope John II. The face to face meeting of Pope John Paul with President Aleksander Kwasniewski lasted about 40 minutes. President Kwasniewski handed a painting by Jerzy Duda-Gracz, entitled "Exodus," to the Pope on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Jolanta Kwasniewska gave the Holy Father a picture pained by children ill with leukemia. In return, the President was presented by the Pope with a bronze relief, depicting Jesus Christ. Asked by Polish and Italian reporters about the course of and impressions from the talk with John Paul II, President Kwasniewski said: I said that we remembered well the latest home-coming, which sank deep in our consciousness, and that we count we would be allowed to play host to the Pope again. I also expressed the best of wishes to the Holy Father in connection with the upcoming birthday. I also had an opportunity to congratulate on the history-making pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I am convinced that the visit, which we jointly followed, will leave a mark both on relationships between Churches and on human attitudes as well. It will compel us to a wider openness and tolerance towards diversity, which the present-day world breeds. My visit, the President continued, is a sort of a unending conversation between the Pope, Cardinal Sodano, and me and my closest aides, which we have been carrying on for several years. And my present emotion ensues from the opportunity to meet the Holy Father, who is in a good shape. He is full of energy and verve. All meetings with this Great Man and Great Pole are always moving, causing also great joy, President Kwasniewski said. During his visit in Rome, President Kwasniewski met with the President of the Italian Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampo.
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