Russian President Vladimir Putin has had a phone conversation with Pope Francis, the Kremlin press service said on Dec. 17.
"Vladimir Putin wishes the pontiff a happy 80th birthday. He also noted his enormous personal contribution to the relations of Russia and the Vatican which have been raised to a qualitatively new level," the statement said. "The Russian president and the pope have exchanged views on issues related to protection of Christians in areas of regional conflicts and to importance of constructive interfaith dialogue so as to preserve moral foundations in world affairs."
During the phone conversation, Putin and Pope Francis also focused their attention on cooperation between Russia and the Vatican in culture and the humanitarian area.
Earlier in the day, Putin had sent a congratulatory telegram to Pope Francis.
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