The Vatican and Malaysia established diplomatic relations Monday in the wake of tensions between Muslims and religious minorities in the Southeast Asian nation.

The Vatican announced the agreement after Pope Benedict XVI met with Malaysia’s prime minister, only the second meeting between a government chief from the Southeast Asian nation and a pontiff. The first was in 2002 for talks focusing on Christian-Muslim relations.

In recent years, religious minority groups in Malaysia have complained of discrimination by the country’s Muslim majority. Roman Catholics and other Christians comprise nearly 10 percent of Malaysia’s 28 million people.

The Vatican said Prime Minister Najib Razak met with Benedict at the pontiff’s summer residence in Castelgandolfo in the Alban Hills south of Rome and then with other top Vatican officials.

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