Pope Benedict XVI received Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie, in a private audience on Saturday. This was the first time the Holy Father has met the Prime Minister since last year's papal election. It was the second time he has met Cherie Blair. After shaking hands and exchanging presents, they sat down in the papal study for what the Vatican described as "cordial" talks. The two discussed Africa and Northern Ireland, and "the contribution which common values between religions can give to dialogue, in particular with moderate Islam, above all on the themes of solidarity and peace," Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said. Italian state TV added that Blair was keen that the Pope visit Britain, although there was no mention of that in the Vatican statement.
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