Orbán could be the bridge between Putin and Pope Francis peace talks, claims Italian newspaper

Pope Francis and Hungary President Katalin Novák walk past Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, left, in the square of Sándor Palace in Budapest, Friday, April 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán could be the politician to facilitate a meeting between Pope Francis and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the print edition of Italian daily Il Giornale writes.

Pope Francis, returning from his apostolic visit to Budapest, told journalists that a secret peace plan is underway, the details of which are still shrouded in secrecy. So far, neither Ukraine nor Russia has confirmed that diplomatic talks have begun to resolve the conflict.

However, there is no doubt that Vatican diplomacy has been working since the outbreak of the war to find partners capable of bringing the parties in the conflict to the negotiating table. Pope Francis has repeatedly stated that he is ready to do anything to stop the devastating violence which has already taken hundreds of thousands of lives.

Although the details of the peace plan are shrouded in secrecy, Il Giornale points out that during his three-day visit to Budapest, Pope Francis had personal talks not only with President Katalin Novák, but also with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The paper also points out that Orbán is the only European leader in contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the paper, Orbán could be a link between Russia and the Holy See, as his mediation could lead to a one-on-one meeting between Pope Francis and Putin, which has already been attempted by Vatican diplomacy.

Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican secretary of state for external relations, has previously told Il Giornale that the Vatican’s neutral territory could be a venue for peace talks between the conflicting parties.

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