France's Macron attends peace summit in Rome, set to meet Pope Francis

Alessandra Tarantino/Pool via Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron is in Rome on Sunday for the start of a three-day peace summit hosted by the Community of Sant’Egidio, a Catholic charity known for its efforts to promote interfaith dialogue, notably in Africa. He will also meet with Pope Francis on Monday.

Macron is set to deliver a speech at the opening of the annual event in Rome alongside the presidents of Italy and Niger.

The gathering, also attended by France’s chief rabbi Haïm Korsia, will mark the latest in a series of meetings between Macron and leaders of the Catholic charity.

Nicknamed "the little UN of Trastevere" (from the name of the district of Rome where it is based), Sant'Egidio, was founded in 1968 by young Catholic students and has become over the years the informal diplomatic arm of the Vatican.

In 1992, Sant'Egidio oversaw the signing of a peace agreement in Mozambique which put an end to 16 years of civil war between power and the rebellion. Similar diplomatic actions have been undertaken in Guinea, Niger, Central African Republic, Chad, and South Sudan.

Very involved in welcoming refugees, one of the pillars of Francis' pontificate, since 2015 Sant'Egidio has been organising "humanitarian corridors" bringing refugees from Syria, the Horn of Africa and Greece, an initiative rewarded in 2019 with an award from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Multilateralism

According to the Elysée, Macron's address will be along the lines of the one given to the UN General Assembly in September, when he denounced "a return to the age of imperialism and colonies" imposed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


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