Pope Francis met Argentine President Alberto Fernandez on Friday and asked him to be a messenger of peace in their common homeland which is fighting rampant inflation, credit default fears and rising poverty.
Fernandez, who was sworn in last month, met Francis privately for about 45 minutes in the papal library, which Francis uses for official functions.
"This is what I want for you - to be messengers of peace," Francis told Fernandez and his wife, Fabiola Yanez, speaking in Spanish at the end of the session.
Fernandez shares many of the pope's ideas on social justice and quoted the pontiff repeatedly in his inaugural address last month.
The 60-year-old center-left politician has promised to bridge social divisions and to roll out a massive credit system with low rates to bolster domestic demand and to boost spending to address hunger and poverty.
His administration has said it must restructure $100 billion in sovereign debt with its creditors, including the IMF, amid a steep recession and inflation of more than 50% in Latin America's third biggest economy.
Francis has not visited his homeland since he became Latin America's first pope in 2013 and Fernandez was expected to renew a standing invitation for the pontiff to make a trip.
Perhaps as a nostalgic nudge to urge the pope to return, Fernandez gave him two coffee table books about the most famous cafes of the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires.