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Pope Francis departs for Cuba

Friday, February 12, 2016 - 01:02

Pope Francis leaves for a trip to Mexico, first stopping in Havana, Cuba for a meeting with Russia's orthodox Patriarch Kirill. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Pope Francis boarded a plane in Rome on Friday heading to Havana, Cuba where he'll hold an historic meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill. In a landmark step towards healing the 1,000-year-old rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity, the two religious leaders will meet in Havana on the pope's way to Mexico. Relations between Moscow and the Vatican have improved steadily since the reign of Pope John Paul II, a Pole who had an inbred suspicion of Russia and who died in 2005. But Francis is an Argentinian with no historical baggage associated with the East-West divisions of Europe after World War Two. In 2013, Moscow was pleased after Francis opposed a proposed U.S.-led military intervention in Syria, a key Russian ally. Last year, Catholics in Ukraine accused Francis of being soft with Moscow when he described violence in Eastern Ukraine as "fratricidal". They saw it as a product of foreign aggression.

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Pope Francis departs for Cuba

Friday, February 12, 2016 - 01:02