VATICAN CITY — Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said on Saturday that Pope Francis had encouraged her to work to preserve the Paris climate accord despite the United States’ decision to withdraw and that he shared her aim to “bring down walls,” not build them.
Ms. Merkel met with the pope for about 40 minutes on Saturday in the Apostolic Palace, focusing on a Group of 20 summit meeting that Germany will host in Hamburg from July 7-8.
The Vatican said the talks focused on the need for the international community to combat poverty, hunger, terrorism and climate change.
Ms. Merkel told reporters she had briefed the pope on Germany’s Group of 20 agenda, which she said “assumes that we are a world in which we want to work together multilaterally, a world in which we don’t want to build walls but bring down walls.”
“We know that, regrettably, the United States is leaving this accord,” Ms. Merkel said.
As he did when Mr. Trump visited last month, Francis gave Ms. Merkel a copy of his environmental encyclical, “Praise Be,” which casts fighting climate change and caring for the environment as urgent moral obligations.
The pope issued the encyclical in the run-up to the Paris negotiations in hopes of urging a global consensus on the need to change “perverse” development models that he said had enriched the wealthy at the expense of the poor and turned God’s creation into an “immense pile of filth.”
The audience began with Francis expressing his condolences over the death of Helmut Kohl, Germany’s chancellor from 1982 to 1998. In his formal note, Francis called Mr. Kohl a “great statesman and convinced European” who worked tirelessly for the unity of his country and the Continent.
In a heartfelt tone, the pope said he was praying that the Lord would give Mr. Kohl “the gift of eternal joy and life in heaven.”