The Kremlin stated on Tuesday that it had “received and taken note” of a Vatican appeal for a mission to promote dialogue and reconciliation in areas of unrest, but said that no steps had yet been taken to follow up.
The statement comes a day after Pope Francis welcomed an invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin to pursue a “mission of peace” in the regions of turmoil.
“We received and took note of the message sent by the Holy See,” Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Putin, told, reporters Tuesday. He added that “no practical decisions have been made yet.”
The Vatican has expressed hope that the Russian mission could help foster peace in Syria, Ukraine, and other areas of conflict. It has also called for in-depth negotiations and dialogue between the parties to any dispute before imposing a solution.
The deployment of a mission would mark an unusual but significant development in the decades-long relationship between the Vatican and Russia, which began with tensions during the Soviet era. In recent years, the two sides have had multiple meetings and established official contacts.
Russia has also used its veto powers at the United Nations Security Council to block moves for intervention in Syria, where the Kremlin has been a key backer of President Bashar al-Assad in a civil war. In Ukraine, Moscow has denied sending in its troops, though evidence suggests it has done so.
The Vatican has been working to improve relations with Russia and other countries in the region. Last year, Francis made history by becoming the first pope to visit Russia since the fall of Communism.