POPE Francis spoke of the need for more love in the world, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar said after meeting with him in Rome.
"The Holy Father told me that emotions such as hatred and fear diminish life and the value of the person. (He said) we need to value love and understanding to improve the lives of people," she said.
The Vatican called yesterday's meeting a "rather significant encounter" between two leaders "fundamentally on the same wavelength" regarding non-violence, democracy and "peaceful co-existence in today's world."
The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, called Suu Kyi "one of the most significant personalities in Asia in the area of peace, democracy and peaceful co-existence" and a "symbol of non-violent commitment to democracy and peace".
A military junta governing Myanmar, formerly Burma, kept Suu Kyi under house arrest for a total of 15 years between 1989 and 2010.
An elected parliamentary government took power in 2011, and the following year, Suu Kyi was elected to parliament, where she is now chairwoman of the Committee for the Rule of Law and Tranquility.
Fr Lombardi said Pope Francis "naturally assured (Suu Kyi) of his prayers for Myanmar and for the Catholic community and the church in her country, and of his appreciation for the lady's commitment to development and democracy in her country, assuring her of the collaboration of the Catholic Church in these great causes".
The Vatican does not have diplomatic relations with Myanmar, where only 1pc of the overwhelmingly Buddhist population of 55 million is Catholic.