Pope, Vietnamese President Try to Mend Fences

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The Vatican recently called an historic meeting with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet and Pope Benedict XVI in an attempt to forge closer ties between the communist nation and the Holy See.

Vietnam has for years persecuted Catholics and closely monitored their religious activities.

The meeting could signal a significant opening on issues of religious freedom in Vietnam.

"The Holy See expressed its pleasure at the visit, a significant stage in the progress of bilateral relations, and expressed the hope that outstanding questions may be resolved as soon as possible," the Vatican said in a statement.

It was the first time that the head of state of Vietnam has met with the Pope since communists took over in 1954.

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