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Russia establishes diplomatic relations with Vatican

RIA Novosti

22:47 03/12/2009 MOSCOW, December 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday signed a decree to establish diplomatic relations with Vatican City, and met with Pope Benedict XVI.

Under the decree, Russia's mission in the Vatican will be transformed into an embassy, the Kremlin said in a statement.

During his visit to Vatican City, Medvedev also held talks with State Secretary Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Presidential spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said Medvedev and the pontiff both gave a positive assessment of Russian-Vatican dialogue.

The decree signed by the president reads: "The Russian Foreign Ministry will hold talks with the Vatican to establish diplomatic relations at the level of the embassy of the Russian Federation in the Vatican and the apostolic nunciature in the Russian Federation, and on the transformation of the Russian mission in the Vatican into Russia's embassy to the Vatican."

In March 1990 the Soviet Union and the Vatican established official diplomatic relations at the level of permanent missions. In January 1992 the Vatican recognized Russia as the U.S.S.R.'s legal successor and also established relations at the level of missions.

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