MEXICO CITY -- Catholic authorities in Mexico said that Cardinal Sergio Obeso Rivera has died at the age of 86.

The Episcopal Conference of Mexico said Monday that the cardinal from Veracruz state spent 65 years as a priest and was president of the conference for three terms.

The Episcopal Conference is the leadership council of the Catholic Church in Mexico.

It added that Obeso Rivera was instrumental in improving ties between Mexico and the Vatican in the 1980s.

He also participated in peace negotiations with the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in 1996.

The Episcopal Conference did not mention a cause of death, but local media had reported on recent health problems.

Obeso Rivera was named a cardinal in 2018 by Pope Francis after being named as a bishop in 1971.

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