Vatican City, Apr 19 (EFE).- Pope Francis received Friday Ecuador's President Rafael Correa and the two men discussed the situation in Latin America, respect for indigenous populations and the importance of a permanent dialogue between church and state.
The news was reported by the Vatican after a 20-minute private conversation between the pope and Correa and the subsequent meeting of the president with the secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
"During the talks, which were held in an atmosphere of cordiality, the Catholic Church's significant contribution in the various sectors of the country's social life and the importance of sincere and permanent dialogue between the church and the state to address fundamental societal challenges were discussed," Vatican Radio said.
"Finally, issues regarding current events in the region (Latin America), respect for indigenous peoples and their culture, as well as environmental protection were treated," the Vatican said.
The pope received the Ecuadorian leader next to his private library in the Tronetto chamber, the site of private audiences.
After a strong hug and a show of extreme cordiality, Pope Francis said, "How good to see you again. How is you mother?"
Correa smiled, pleased at the pontiff's words and the remembrance of his mother. The Ecuadorian president had been in the Vatican previously to attend the High Mass at the beginning of the current papacy and was accompanied on that occasion by his mother, whom Francis kissed.