Sodano thanks Kazakh head16 September 2012
The former Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, has praised the authoritarian regime of President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan for promoting religious and ethnic tolerance.
Cardinal Sodano's statement was included in a joint communique after he met the Kazakh President in Astana on 6 September. Mr Nazarbayev has faced repeated accusations of restricting democracy and human rights.
The communiqué said Mr Nazarbayev had also welcomed his Government's "fruitful co-operation" with the Holy See, as well as Vatican support for annual international inter-religious meetings staged under his patronage.
Cardinal Sodano, who is Dean of the College of Cardinals, was in the former Soviet republic as papal envoy for the consecration of a new Catholic cathedral, dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, in Karaganda on land donated by the Government.
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