Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., on Wednesday met with Pope Francis in Vatican City to discuss the millions of refugees from countries in the Middle East and North Africa who have fled their countries as a result of unrest in the region.

“I had a chance to visit with Pope Francis to discuss the global crisis of refugees and migrants which is relevant around the world and to my work in the Senate,” Kaine said in a statement that was released Wednesday evening. “As the Pope stated so clearly yesterday, it is a ‘moral imperative’ to protect and defend the ‘inalienable rights’ of refugees and respect their dignity, especially by adopting just laws that protect those fleeing dangerous and inhumane situations.”

The 2016 Democratic vice presidential nominee called the relationship between the U.S. and the Holy See “tremendously important” for the purpose of addressing human trafficking, refugees and reconciliation issues.

The Roman Catholic senator also met with Paul Gallagher, foreign minister of the Holy See Archbishop. Kaine also took part in a discussion about Latin American issues the Vatican is mulling over. Pope Francis was born and raised in Argentina.

On Friday, Kaine will speak about the Truman Doctrine at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, a 70-year-old policy that determined the U.S. would support countries and people who face external or internal authoritarian forces.

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“We condemn this vile act of vandalism and those that perpetrate it in the strongest possible terms.”

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