Pope urges German chancellor Merkel to continue the fight on climate change


ReutersGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer (L) with Pope Francis at a meeting at the Vatican, June 17, 2017.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has said she was encouraged by Pope Francis when the two met to discuss climate change, international cooperation and 'tearing down walls'.

The chancellor met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday for an extensive, 40-minute private audience.

'The Pope encouraged me to continue and fight for international agreements, including the Paris agreement,' Merkel told reporters.

US president Donald Trump provoked controversy and widespread international criticism this month when he announced the US would be pulling out of the landmark 2015 agreement that united world leaders in the fight against climate change.

'We know that regrettably, the United States is leaving this accord,' Merkel said, according to the Catholic Herald.

Merkel said that the Pope expressed support for the global summit for the major G20 economies which will meet in Hamburg next month. Reflecting on the session, Merkel said: 'This (G20) agenda assumes that we are a part of a world in which we work together through multilateral cooperation.

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

The pair also discussed the importance of the international community combatting hunger, poverty and the threat of global terrorism. The Vatican said that the meeting was 'cordial' and included discussion of 'the good relations and fruitful collaboration between the Holy See and Germany', according to Vatican Radio.

As he did with President Trump last month, Francis gave Merkel a copy of 'Laudato Si', the Pontiff's landmark encyclical on the moral imperative to care for God's creation and fight climate change.

Additional reporting by Reuters