Dr. Hessa Abdullah Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to Spain and Non-Resident Ambassador to the Vatican State, has visited the Vatican City at the invitation of His Holiness Pope Francis on the occasion of his annual meeting with members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See for New Year greetings.
Dr. Al Otaiba conveyed to His Holiness the greetings of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
She also spoke of the importance of strengthening bilateral relations of friendship, commending the Pope's call on the governments and peoples of the world to work for peace and tolerance.
For his part, Pope Francis praised the policy of openness and tolerance of the UAE's wise leadership, which, he said, is a role model to be followed in the region in terms of respect for others and the freedom of practicing all religions.
Dr. Otaiba also met Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and conveyed to him the greetings of Their Highnesses the leaders of the UAE. In turn, Cardinal Parolin praised the outstanding relations between the two countries.
Dr. Al Otaiba She also met with Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Holy See's Secretary for Relations with States, to convey to him the greetings of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and his desire to further boost fruitful bilateral cooperation.
In a speech to the diplomatic corps to congratulate them on the New Year, Pope Francis reviewed the key aspects of bilateral relations between the Vatican government and the governments with which it has diplomatic relations.
He said, "Relations between nations, like all human relationships, 'must likewise be harmonised in accordance with the dictates of truth, justice, willing cooperation, and freedom'. This entails 'the principle that all states are by nature equal in dignity', as well as the acknowledgment of one another's rights and the fulfilment of their respective duties. The basic premise of this approach is the recognition of the dignity of the human person, since disregard and contempt for that dignity resulted in barbarous acts that have outraged the conscience of mankind. Indeed, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms, 'recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world".
He added, "I think, in particular, of Israelis and Palestinians, in the wake of the tensions of recent weeks. The Holy See, while expressing sorrow for the loss of life in recent clashes, renews its pressing appeal that every initiative be carefully weighed so as to avoid exacerbating hostilities, and calls for a common commitment to respect, in conformity with the relevant United Nations Resolutions, the status quo of Jerusalem, a city sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims. Seventy years of confrontation make more urgent than ever the need for a political solution that allows the presence in the region of two independent states within internationally recognised borders. Despite the difficulties, a willingness to engage in dialogue and to resume negotiations remains the clearest way to achieving at last a peaceful coexistence between the two peoples."
Source: UAE MINISTRY OF FOREGIN AFFAIRS