Belarusian president invites pope to meet with Russian-Orthodox head

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has invited Pope Francis to meet with the head of the Russian-Orthodox Church for a peace summit, state agency Belta reported Saturday.

The pope met Lukaschenko at the Vatican on Saturday, after which the Belarusian leader said the ongoing Ukraine conflict required a new initiative, "preferably also spiritual," according to the report.

"Everything is in God's hand," Lukashenko was quoted as saying. "If he gives his blessing, then the supreme heads of the Catholic and Orthodox churches will met on Belarusian soil."

The authoritarian leader said he also wanted to invite Ukrainian religious leaders to the summit, as well as representatives of Judaism and Islam.

"They should sit together, talk and then pray before millions of pilgrims in the name of peace," he said.

After the meeting, the Vatican praised Minsk's role in the peace efforts in Ukraine. The Belarusian capital was the base for negotations between the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and the Kiev government, which lead to a ceasefire agreement.

Lukashenko remains isolated in the West for his crushing of all political opposition in Belarus.

Last update: Sat, 21/05/2016 - 18:21
Author: 

More from Europe

Two migrants die in Austria while hiding in freight train

Two migrants have died in Austria while hiding in a goods train, police said on Saturday.

Danish domestic flight makes emergency landing over smoke in cabin

A Danish domestic flight with 18 people on board made an emergency landing Saturday after smoke from one engine...

Merkel faces toughest challenge yet as she looks to win fourth term

Angela Merkel is set to secure the backing of her conservative party at its conference next week for a fourth term...

Armed robbery at Paris travel agency ends without casualties

An armed robbery on Friday at a Paris travel agency has ended without casualties.

Iceland president asks Pirate Party to attempt to form government

Iceland's president on Friday gave the leader of the anti-establishment Pirate Party the task of forming the next...