WASHINGTON, February 11 (RIA Novosti) – US President Barack Obama voiced his “appreciation” Monday of Pope Benedict XVI following the pontiff’s announcement that he was stepping down and expressed his best wishes to those clerics tasked with selecting a successor.
“On behalf of Americans everywhere, Michelle and I wish to extend our appreciation and prayers to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI,” Obama said in a three-sentence statement released by the White House.
The US president said he and his wife, Michelle, “warmly remember” meeting the pope four years ago and added that he “appreciated our work together” since then.
“The Church plays a critical role in the United States and the world, and I wish the best to those who will soon gather to choose His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI’s successor,” Obama said.
Separately, US Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York expressed sorrow that Pope Benedict was quitting but lauded the outgoing pontiff as a great spiritual leader for the world’s Roman Catholics and described his decision to step down as further proof of his “great care for the church.”
“We are sad that he will be resigning but grateful for his eight years of selfless leadership as successor of St. Peter,” Msgr. Dolan, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and regarded as among the most influential Catholic clerics in the United States, said in a statement.
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The current contract portfolio of Russian arms exporters is worth about $46 billion. Annual exports total $15 billion, and this will ensure uninterrupted deliveries for the next three years, even in the worst-case scenario. The list of the main buyers of Russian weapons is unlikely to change drastically.