PETALING JAYA: Westmoreland Edward Palon did not miss the opportunity to present Pope Francis with an intricately designed and coloured beaded tapestry from his home state of Sarawak when he met the Pope to hand over his credentials as Malaysia's new ambassador to the Vatican.
Westmoreland, who was named by Wisma Putra as Malaysia's ambassador to the Vatican on March 21, expressed a need to promote inter-religious and inter-faith dialogue during his meeting with the Pope, the Foreign Ministry said in a message on its official Twitter account.
Rome Reports, a private and independent news agency based in Rome which specialises in covering the Pope and the Vatican, reported that Westmoreland, who was accompanied by his family, had presented Pope Francis with the tapestry during their meeting on June 10.
The Pope in return presented Westmoreland a selection of his most important magisterial texts as well as rosaries.
The pope then blessed the three religious articles.
"Afterward, the Pope and the new ambassador met privately to discuss issues of interest for both nations," the Rome Reports article said.
Westmoreland had received his instrument of appointment as Malaysia's ambassador to the Holy See on March 21 from Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.
Malaysia established formal diplomatic ties with the Holy See in July 2011.
Westmoreland started his career as an Administrative and Diplomatic Officer at Wisma Putra in 1996.
He was the Consul General at the Consulate General of Malaysia in Melbourne, Australia since 2015 prior to his appointment as the Ambassador of Malaysia to Holy See.
He previously served as the Assistant Secretary (West Europe) from 1996 until 1999, the Assistant Secretary (Information) from 1999 until 2000 and the Second Secretary at the High Commission of Malaysia in Singapore from 2000 until 2004.
Westmoreland later served as the First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Malaysia in the United Nations in New York from 2004 until 2007 and the Principal Assistant Secretary (America) from 2007 until 2010.
He had also served as the Counsellor at the Embassy of Malaysia in Santiago, Chile from 2010 until 2013 and was the Director at the Asean-Malaysia National Secretariat from 2013 until 2015.
According to report in the Borneo Post, Westmoreland is a Bidayuh who hails from Kampung Duras, Kuching.