Russian President stops at Vatican ahead of Italy-Russia summit.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Pope Francis at the Vatican Monday after arriving in Rome the day before a government summit between Russian and Italian ministers.
At the center of the 35-minute encounter were wishes for peace in Syria, the Vatican said.
"The urgency to put an end to the violence" and to "encourage concrete initiatives for a peaceful solution to the conflict" were at the heat of the talks, said a statement.
Afterward Putin and Francis exchanged gifts, with Putin receiving a mosaic of the Vatican gardens and Francis receiving an icon of the Madonna of Vladimir, one of the most venerated images of the Russian Orthodox Church. (...)