Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner asked for Pope Francis to intervene in the increasingly tense dispute over the Falklands Islands, she said yesterday.
Ms Kirchner met her compatriot Pope Francis for a lunch yesterday, his first meeting with an individual head of state since his election last Wednesday.
After their meeting she told reporters in Rome: "I asked for his intervention to avoid problems that could emerge from the militarisation of Great Britain in the South Atlantic. We want a dialogue and that is why we asked the Pope to intervene: so that the dialogue is successful."
The UK ambassador to the Vatican, Nigel Baker, reacted strongly to the attempt to involve the new Pope in the dispute. He said: "The Holy See's position on the Falkland Islands has for some time been that it is a matter between two sovereign states and that the Holy See does not have a role to play. We expect that position to continue."
Although while cardinal-archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio had a frosty relationship with the Government, there are signs that people within it are hoping for a thaw and to profit from his sudden popularity.
According to the Guardian, a source close to the Kirchner administration said of Bergoglio's election as pope: "The Government has been split over how to react."