Russian President Vladimir Putin kept the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics waiting for 70 minutes for a meeting that lasted for 50 minutes.
Everywhere, reporters who were present during the meeting said it lasted for 50 minutes. A statement from the Vatican also said the same. However, a statement from the office of the President of Russia said the meeting took place over an hour.
That awkward moment when Putin kept the Pope waiting
According to Bloomberg, the meeting between the Pope and Mr Putin had a “chilly” start after a delay of 70 minutes courtesy of the Russian president. The Pope greeted him in a very civil manner. Mr Putin then made a gesture of thanks. The two leaders sat opposite each other in silence for about few seconds until the journalists and photographers felt it was time to leave the two to themselves.
As the door closed, the two leaders fired away and went straight to the point. A statement from the Vatican said they talked about achieving peace in Ukraine, humanitarian access, and reinforcement of the Minsk agreement; they were also able to talk about the situation in the Middle East, including the genocide of Christians – all big issues in under an hour.
“During the discussions which lasted 50 minutes both the Pope and the President focused on the conflict in Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East,” a statement from the Vatican said.
The more awkward moment when Russia said the meeting was over an hour
In a statement, the office of the President of Russia said “during a substantive and friendly conversation, which lasted over an hour, President Putin and Pope Francis discussed the current situation in global affairs, including the crisis in Ukraine, and touched on universal and humanitarian values which largely unite Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, as well as all religions.”
The most awkward moment when Russia offered an explanation
Russia made an extraordinary step of explaining why Mr Putin was late, something that was not done in the past.
“It’s true that the meeting with the pope happened a little after the planned time. This was because talks in Milan went on longer than expected and our motorcade was quite slow moving through the streets of Milan and Rome. Of course, during the whole time we kept in touch with the Vatican and explained our lateness,” Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said as quoted by The Guardian.
Putin has always been late
As it turned out, Mr Putin is a chronic latecomer. His ex-wife was once quoted saying that waiting for him for an hour and a half is only normal but she used to cry during their first few dates.
“An hour and a half was normal. I remember standing around in the metro. The first 15 minutes of lateness are OK, half an hour also fine. But when an hour goes by and he’s still not there, you start crying,” she said.
Mr Putin was late during his first meeting with the Pope back in November 2013. Ukraine’s ousted president had waited for him once for four hours. He was also late during a meeting with Queen Elizabeth in 2003. He was three hours late for a meeting with John Kerry in 2012.
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