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Monday, November 25, 2013

Putin arrives in Italy to meet the Pope - Italian media claim he will make Berlusconi Russian ambassador to Vatican, giving him diplomatic immunity

  • Putin will hold fiery discussion of Syria with Pope Francis, who criticised him
  • Italian media have reported Putin could grant special status to Berlusconi
  • Former PM has been handed several jail terms and faces another trial  
Friends: It has been claimed Vladimir Putin, left, who is meeting the Pope in Rome's Vatican City today, wants to make disgraced Silvio Berlusconi, right, a Russian ambassador - giving him diplomatic immunity

Russian president Vladimir Putin will meet the Pope today - amid claims he is planning to name scandal-mired Silvio Berlusconi as Russia's ambassador to the Vatican.

Mr Putin will hold private talks with Pope Francis about the Syrian conflict, months after the Pope sent him an angry letter criticising the G20's failure to provide more aid.
Now it has been claimed Mr Putin is set to grant Berlusconi diplomatic immunity - despite him being convicted of sex with an underage prostitute and facing another trial over bribery claims.

Cosy: Berlusconi and Putin are firm friends, despite both being controversial figures on the world stage 
Cosy: Berlusconi and Putin are firm friends, despite both being controversial figures on the world 
stage
It would hand Berlusconi several privileges including a right to travel - something his numerous convictions have forced him to give up.
The 77-year-old has been fighting a string of criminal convictions since he left office in 2011 and claims he is a victim of a campaign by the judiciary.

So far the reports that Putin, left, could make Berlusconi, right, a Russian ambassador are unconfirmed
 So far the reports that Putin, left, could make Berlusconi, right, a Russian ambassador are unconfirmed

Pope Francis and Putin did agree on one thing, however - they were both against the British and U.S. push for military intervention.
Putin refused to take sides in the conflict, while the Pope said it was important that the violence did not escalate.
But the pair differ publicly in several areas including on gay rights. While the Pope has reportedly taken a softer line, Putin has cracked down on gay rights and criminalised protests in favour.
And there is a long-running religious feud between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox church, which have been at loggerheads since the fall of the Soviet Union. Russian church figures have accused the Vatican of trying to convert their worshippers to make them Catholic.


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