MOSCOW, July 3. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to discuss the situation in Syria and in southeastern Ukraine, as well as the dialogue between the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches with Pope Francis on July 4.
The memorandum on mutual understanding between the Russian Health Ministry and the Vatican’s health agency is planned to be signed, Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters on Wednesday.
"Of course, an indispensable part of our bilateral relations [between Russian and the Vatican] is the dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church," the Kremlin representative said. "Of course, at the talks with Pope Francis international topics will be touched upon. It is very important to note that the sides have similar or practically same positions to such important international issues as fight against terrorism and religious extremism, prevention of ecological industrial disasters, protection of Christians in conflict zones, defense of the universal humanist values and development of the dialogue between religions and civilizations," Ushakov pointed out.
"In this context, we are expecting that the situation in Syria will be touched upon, such as the issues of quick creation of civil infrastructure, humanitarian aid for the victims of war, the issue of restoring Christian sacred places and other objects of the same nature on the Syrian territory will also be discussed," the Kremlin representative said. He added that the Russian side is also expecting "that the situation in southeastern Ukraine will be discussed, as well as the prospects for implanting a number of humanitarian projects by the Roman Catholic Church in Donbass."
Ushakov recalled that this year marks tenth anniversary since the full-fledged diplomatic relation at the ambassadorial level were established. "We hold active exchanges in the cultural and humanitarian sphere with the Vatican, different art exhibitions are organized," he said, also drawing attention to the fact that "cooperation is conducted in the scientific sphere." "As part of the talks in the Vatican, the memorandum on mutual understanding between the Russian Health Ministry and the Vatican’s health agency is planned to be signed," he announced.
Ushakov did not rule out the possibility of the Russian President and the Pope discussing other topics on the international agenda.