Vatican City, May 13 (EFE).- Pope Francis on Monday encouraged the parties involved in the Colombian peace process to "continue with the negotiations, motivated by a sincere search for the common good and reconciliation," the Vatican announced after the meeting between the pontiff and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
Francis received Santos during the latter's visit to the Vatican for the canonization on Sunday of nun Laura Montoya y Upegui (1874-1949), Colombia's first saint.
The pope and Santos held a private conversation that lasted 15 minutes during which they analyzed "the challenges Colombia is facing, above all with regard to social inequalities."
"There also was a reference to the peace process under way and to the victims of the conflict, and the desire was expressed (by the pontiff) for the involved parties to continue with the negotiations, motivated by a sincere search for the common good and reconciliation," the Vatican said.
Santos, in a meeting with the press after the audience, said that the pope urged him to persevere in the search for peace in Colombia.
"We spoke about many issues, about peace and the need to persevere in the search for peace. The pope told me that only the courageous insist on that type of objective, which can be costly, but which ... (is) worth the trouble," he said.
He said that Francis also told him, referring to the peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrillas, "that he had a name for what we're doing and it's a 'spirit of encounter.'"
Santos added that the pontiff's words filled him with "emotion, optimism and energy to continue seeking peace (in) my country," adding that the last 24 hours in the Vatican have been "an injection of optimism and stimulus to continue working."