Vatican City — Pope Francis has praised the “small steps” of diplomacy and peacemaking that brought about the rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuba.

In his first public comments about the breakthrough Francis told new ambassadors on Thursday that diplomacy was a “noble job.”

Francis played a crucial role in bringing the two sides together, writing letters to Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro this past summer inviting them to find humanitarian solutions to their differences and offering the Vatican as a facilitator in negotiations. The final deal was hammered out at the Vatican in October.

In his speech to the ambassadors, Francis said diplomacy is “a work of small steps, of little things that always end up making peace, to bring people’s hearts together and spread fraternity among peoples.”

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