Russia commends pope for inter-religious dialogue

'Active promotion of Christian values worldwide'

Russia commends pope for inter-religious dialogue

Moscow, February 12 - The Kremlin on Tuesday expressed its ''appreciation for the personal contribution made by Pope Benedict XVI to inter-religious dialogue'' in its first official reaction to Monday's announcement that the pontiff would be stepping down from office at the end of the month. President Vladimir Putin's diplomatic spokesman Iuri Ushakov also acknowledged Benedict's participation in the ''active promotion of Christian values throughout the world'' and said he hoped the Vatican might continue to pursue this line in future. ''Relations between Russia and the Vatican have developed very positively since he became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005,'' said Ushakov, highlighting the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the two States in 2009.

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