Pope Francis has asked Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, head of the Italian bishops' conference, to carry out a peace mission to try to help end the war in Ukraine, the Vatican said on Saturday, APA reports citing Reuters.
Francis first spoke cryptically of his intention to launch a mission when he was returning from a trip to Hungary last month but gave no details.
A Vatican diplomatic source said Zuppi would try to meet separately with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Vatican said in a statement that Zuppi, 67, would carry out the mission, in accordance with the Vatican's Secretariat of State, "to contribute to reducing tensions of the conflict in Ukraine, in the hope, never given up by the Holy Father, that this could start peace processes".
Returning from a trip to Hungary on April 30, Francis made an intriguing but puzzling comment about the Vatican being involved in a mission to try to end the war.
"There is a mission in course now but it is not yet public. When it is public, I will reveal it," he told reporters.
On Saturday the Vatican said the timing and specifics of the mission were still being worked out.
Zuppi hails from the Sant' Egidio Community, a Rome-based peace and justice group which in 1992 brokered a deal that ended the civil war in Mozambique, which had killed about a million people and displaced about four million others.
Pope Francis made him a cardinal in 2019 and he was elected head of the Italian Episcopal Conference last year.