As part of the final stop in his tour of Europe, Bolivian President Evo Morales has met with Pope Francis in the Vatican. There, they discussed his country’s campaign demanding access to the Pacific Ocean.
Since taking office in 2006, Morales has intensified the Sea for Bolivia campaign, which calls on Chile to return Pacific-bordering lands stolen from the landlocked country during the 19th Century. Now, the case is being arbitrated by the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
Morales expressed gratitude for his fifth visit to Pope Francis on Twitter.
"Very grateful and with much humility, we had in the Vatican our fifth meeting since 2013 with our brother Francisco, the Pope of the poor,” Morales said.
“Bolivia still keeps emotional memories of his visit on July 2015 and his support for the process of change and for Sea for Bolivia.”
Muy agradecido y con mucha humildad asistimos, en Vaticano, a nuestro quinto encuentro desde 2013 con el hermano Francisco, Papa de los pobres. Bolivia aún guarda recuerdos muy emotivos de su visita en julio de 2015 y su apoyo al proceso de cambio y de #MarParaBolivia pic.twitter.com/7EGauiuKgP— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) December 15, 2017
Bolivia's delegation to the Vatican included Minister of Foreign Affairs Fernando Huanacuni, Minister of Justice and Transparency Hector Arce, Maritime Cause in the Hague Tribunal official Eduardo Rodríguez and Emerson Calderon, advisor to the Strategic Management for Maritime Vindication.
The meeting in the Vatican was Morales' last stop in his European tour, which began on Dec. 12, to attend the One Planet Summit in Paris, France.
After Paris, Morales traveled to Austria, where he signed an agreement with the University of Graz to help train Bolivian professionals who will participate in the construction of the Central Bi-Oceanic Railway. He also traveled to Switzerland, where he signed a memorandum for technical cooperation for the aforementioned project.
The Central Bi-Oceanic Railway seeks to connect ports in Santos, Brazil and Ilo, Peru, cutting through Bolivia. It is one of Unasur's seven prioritized infrastructure projects for regional integration.