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Call for Halki reopening as patriarch meets Biden, Blinken

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Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, the spiritual leader of some 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide, Tuesday met separately with US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Climate change, Covid-19 and religious freedom were the focus of talks between the American president and the patriarch, who spent a night in hospital in Washington DC over the weekend after feeling unwell. According to the State Department, during their meeting Blinken emphasized that the reopening of the Halki Seminary, a theological school on an island near Istanbul that was closed by the Turkish state in 1971, “remains a continued priority.” Ankara has also received pressure from the EU over the issue.