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    Medvedev pays first official visit to Vatican

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    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev paid his first official visit to the Vatican on Thursday and met with Pope Benedict XVI.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev paid his first official visit to the Vatican on Thursday and met with Pope Benedict XVI.

    The sides were expected to discuss bilateral and religious ties, global affairs and cooperation within the framework of various international organizations.

    After the meeting, Medvedev introduced his spouse, Svetlana, and other members of Russian delegation to the pope.

    The aide to the Russian president, Sergei Prikhodko, said earlier on Thursday the president and the pope were expected to discuss a dialogue between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.

    A Russian diplomatic source told RIA Novosti that a meeting between the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, and the Pope now appears "more realistic" than it did several years ago.

    He did not say, however, when or where such meeting would take place.

    Neither Pope Benedict nor his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, has visited post-communist Russia.

    MOSCOW, February 17 (RIA Novosti) 

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