YEREVAN, Armenia — Pope Francis has said the result of the United Kingdom’s referendum to leave the European Union reflects the “will of the people” and that there is now a “great responsibility” to ensure the well-being of people in the U.K. and peaceful coexistence on continental Europe.

Addressing reporters on the papal plane to Armenia, the Holy Father said he had only read basic information about the result of the vote just before leaving Rome, but said he felt it was “the will of the people.”

“It demands great responsibility on our part,” he said, “to ensure the well-being of the people in the United Kingdom and the coexistence of the people on the European continent, as I expect.”

The U.K. voted yesterday in a referendum to leave the European Union after 43 years as a member of the economic-political bloc.

Before addressing the “Brexit” vote, the Pope also shared his reaction to the news yesterday that Colombia’s long internal conflict had come to an end.

“I am happy about this news that came to me yesterday, after more than 50 years of war, of conflict and much bloodshed,” he said. “I hope that the countries that work for peace keep it.” He wished the country well on its “next step.”

The Pope arrived at 2:50pm local time at Yerevan’s international airport after a four-hour flight from Rome. Immediately after arrival, the Holy Father was driven to the Apostolic Cathedral in Etchmiadzin, where he delivered the first discourse of his 14th visit outside Italy.

 

 

Edward Pentin is the Register’s Rome correspondent. He is reporting on the papal trip to Armenia.