VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Wednesday congratulated the United States and Cuba on their decision to establish diplomatic relations, and the Vatican said it was ready to support the strengthening of bilateral relations.
In a statement, the Vatican also confirmed that its diplomats facilitated talks between the two countries, "resulting in solutions acceptable to both parties."
"The Holy Father wishes to express his warm congratulations for the historic decision taken by the governments of the United States of America and Cuba to establish diplomatic relations,
with the aim of overcoming, in the interest of the citizens of both countries, the difficulties which have marked their recent history," the statement said.
It said the pope had written letters to Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama "and invited them to resolve humanitarian questions of common interest including the
situation of certain prisoners, in order to initiate a new phase in relations between the two parties."
The statement confirmed that Vatican diplomacy was used "to facilitate a constructive dialogue on delicate matters, resulting in solutions acceptable to both parties."
It added that "The Holy See will continue to assure its support for initiatives which both nations will undertake to strengthen their bilateral relations and promote the wellbeing of their respective citizens."
Reporting By Philip Pullella; editing by Alessandra Galloni