Merkel and Pope Francis discuss Ukraine crisis

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on a visit to the Vatican Saturday met with Pope Francis and discussed efforts to end the bloody conflict in Ukraine.

Merkel and Pope Francis discuss Ukraine crisis
Merkel and Pope Francis discussed the Ukraine crisis during the private audience. Photo: Maurizio Brambatti / ANSA/ AFP

Merkel, who played a key role in negotiating the latest ceasefire, had a private audience with the pope where the two underlined their "commitment to reaching a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine", a Vatican statement said.

Francis and Merkel also discussed poverty, women's rights, health and the environment — topics the will be on the agenda at the G7 summit Germany will host in June, the statement added.

The German chancellor arrived in Rome on Friday with a 15-member delegation and paid a surprise visit to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum, a Vatican source said.

This was the third meeting between Merkel and the Argentine-born pope who had met twice before in 2013.