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Vatican, Mongolia to strengthen ties for development

Vatican’s secretary for relations with states, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, visited the East Asian nation on June 4-6
Mongolia’s Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh greets the Vatican’s secretary for relations with states, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, during his visit to the country

Mongolia’s Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh greets the Vatican’s secretary for relations with states, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, during his visit to the country. (Photo: AKI Press)

Published: June 07, 2023 06:53 AM GMT
Updated: July 31, 2023 04:00 AM GMT

Top officials from the Vatican and Mongolia held talks focusing on strengthening cooperation for development and vowed to work together to overcome challenges posed by climate change, media reports say.

The Vatican’s secretary for relations with states, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, visited the East Asian nation from June 4-6.

The visit came a day after Pope Francis announced he will visit Mongolia from Aug. 31-Sept. 4.

Gallagher met and held talks with Mongolia’s foreign minister, Battsetseg Batmunkh, on June 5 when they discussed the issues of cooperation in the fields of history, culture and healthcare, AKI Press reported.

Batmunkh presented the goals of the long-term development policy of Mongolia "Vision 2050" and the medium-term "New Revival Policy."

She exchanged views on the possibility of enriching the content of diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

The officials also reaffirmed that the Vatican and Mongolia will work together to overcome the challenges of desertification, climate change, and soil degradation in collaboration with the international community, AKI Press reported.

Gallagher also met with the country’s premier, Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erden.

Archbishop Gallagher's visit is the first by a top Vatican official since diplomatic relations were established between the two states in 1992.

Last year marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the Vatican.

The same year, Pope Francis surprised the world when he made Italian consolata missionary and apostolic prefect of Ulaanbaatar, Giorgio Marengo, a cardinal.

Marengo leads the tiny Catholic Church in Mongolia with an estimated 1,300 Catholics out of a total population of about 3.34 million.

During his visit, Gallegher concelebrated a Mass in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Ulaanbaatar, the country's capital, followed by a meeting with the local missionary community, Vatican News reported.

On the final day, he held talks with Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh.

He also visited Chinggis Khaan National Museum, a modern building inaugurated last year that exhibits more than 12,000 historical artifacts offering a wide-ranging perspective on Genghis Khan's empire and subsequent ones.

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