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Salih meets Pope Francis to appeal for unity and reconciliation

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Iraqi President Barham Salih met Pope Francis in Rome on Saturday, in hope of appealing for security and reconciliation in the war-torn country.

“Honored to have met His Holiness the Pope, he cares deeply for Iraq and prays for our success, I invite him to visit us, where Abraham started his mission of peace and unity,” Salih said in a tweet.

Salih presented the pope with a silver statue of a palm tree and in return Francis gave the Iraqi president a medal with two olive branches, saying it was a representation of unity between the two states.

"Iraq can bring together believers from all faiths to affirm values of peace, tolerance and to confront extremism," Salih added.

The Iraqi president also met Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and President Sergio Mattarella in Rome on Thursday.

Salih took part in the Mediterranean Dialogues where he stressed that "Iraq has the opportunity to play a leading role for stability in the region".

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