ASTANA – Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev met with Pope Francis at the Vatican, as he made his first official visit to the Holy See on Jan. 19, reported the Akorda press service.
Tokayev expressed gratitude to Pope Francis for his tireless and selfless efforts for the development of humanity throughout the globe.
“Your prayers for achieving peace have instilled faith and new hope in the hearts and minds of not only thousands of Catholics, but also many of our compatriots professing other religions. Today, multi-ethnic and multi-confessional Kazakhstan, historically located at the crossroads of civilizations, has become home to the largest Catholic community in Central Asia,” said the President.
Tokayev noted that Kazakhstan managed to form its own model of peace and national dialogue, based on the unity in diversity country’s fundamental principle, and underlined that “protecting the right to freedom of religion is an integral part of the political course.”
Tokayev expressed full solidarity with Pope Francis’ annual “Urbi et Orbi” (To the City and the World) speech, notably, that ”peace is primarily a gift of God, but it is also a responsibility incumbent upon all of us.”
“Fully sharing your aspirations, I am convinced that, despite all our differences, we must unite to promote the ideas of peace, constant dialogue between cultures and religions, and development for the benefit of people of all faiths. There is still time to express goodwill, there is still room for negotiations, there is still an opportunity to show wisdom,” Tokayev said.
President Tokayev emphasized Kazakhstan’s enduring partnership with the Holy See, highlighting sincere friendship and mutual respect.
The President thanked Pope Francis for global peace efforts, noting Kazakhstan’s substantial contributions through United Nations peacekeeping missions.
“The current geopolitical turbulence undermines global security, leading to immense human suffering and economic challenges. Kazakhstan, as a responsible state, makes a substantial practical contribution to the maintenance of global peace and security. We actively participate in UN peacekeeping missions in various hotspots around the world,” said Tokayev.
In response, Pope Francis thanked Tokayev and acknowledged the nation’s commitment to peace. The President affirmed Kazakhstan’s intention to collaborate with the Holy See in promoting tolerance and harmony.