18 April 2013
he ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Italy, Salh Mohammad Al Ghandi, delivered a message from King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud to Pope Francis. Saudi Arabia is one of the eight countries without diplomatic ties with the Vatican, Rome Reports reported.
The cordial meeting took place in the study of Paul VI Hall, where the Pope and the ambassador were able to exchange gifts.
Though there are no official diplomatic relations between the two states, there have been a series of semi-official meetings. The countries' relationships are difficult because Christians have no right to worship freely or in public in the Saudi Kingdom.
Dialogue between them was spurred following a meeting between King Abdullah and Benedict XVI at the Vatican in 2007. Their audience was the strongest sign of warming ties between the two states in the past few years.