Pope tells Merkel to keep up climate change fight

Pope Francis and Angela Merkel (CNA/LOsservatore Romano)

Pope Francis has asked Germany to keep fighting for the Paris climate change deal and to "tear down walls" that inhibit international cooperation, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, Reuters reports.

US President Donald Trump announced this month that he would withdraw from the landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change, drawing anger from world leaders.

"The Pope encouraged me to continue and fight for international agreements, including the Paris agreement," Ms Merkel told reporters after an unusually long, 40-minute private audience with him.

Ms Merkel, who faces elections in September, said the Pope expressed his support for the agenda of the G20 major economies, who hold a summit in Hamburg next month.

"This (G20) agenda assumes that we are a part of a world in which we work together through multilateral cooperation," Ms Merkel said of her discussion with Francis.

"It is a world in which we want to tear down walls and not build them, and in which we all seek prosperity, wealth, honor and dignity for mankind."

The Vatican said that issues of common interest were discussed, including the need for the international community to focus on combating poverty, hunger, the global threat of terrorism, and climate change.

According to Catholic News Agency, Pope Francis gifted Ms Merkel a small bronze sculpture of an olive branch, symbolising peace. He also gave her the customary gift of copies of his environmental encyclical Laudato Si', his 2015 Apostolic Exhortation on the family Amoris Laetitia, and his 2013 exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, all in German.

For her part, Ms Merkel gave the Pope a gift of three jars of the Argentinian dessert, Dulce de leche, along with a CD set of symphonic works by Beethoven.

FULL STORY

Pope tells Merkel to keep pressing for international cooperation (Reuters)

Pope Francis, German Chancellor discuss need to fight poverty, hunger (CNA)