Press Release

19 March 2013

President Zuma congratulates His Holiness Pope Francis

On behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma conveys his warmest congratulations to His Holiness Pope Francis on his election as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church.

“We would like to wish His Holiness, a long and blessed Pontificate, to defend and promote the fundamental values of peace, solidarity and human dignity” President Zuma said.

President Zuma also stated that His Holiness assumes leadership at a critical time in which the world's collective wisdom and leadership including that of the religious community is most important to face up to challenges of deepening poverty and under-development afflicting many people of the world.

“We also share the conviction that we can only resolve the interconnected challenges of today’s world through dialogue. I am certain that His Holiness will continue to build on the legacy of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, amongst others, in the promotion of inter-faith dialogue.”

“I look forward to continuing our co-operation on issues of international importance such as Africa and its development and to strengthen the special relationship between South Africa and the Holy See”, President Zuma concluded.

Enquiries, Mr Clayson Monyela: +27 82 884 5974

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