US President Donald Trump will meet Pope Francis in Vatican later this month when he visits Italy as part of a five nation Middle East-Europe tour.
In his first foreign trip as President, Trump will also tour Saudi Arabia, Israel and Brussels, the White House said.
It did not announce the dates, but the Vatican announced the Pope will receive the President on 24 May at 8:30 a.m. in the Apostolic Palace.
In February last year, both the leaders had issued statements critical of each other.
Referring to Trump, the head of the Catholic church had said, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian”.
The White House Press Secretary said Trump will discuss with Francis cooperation between the United States and religious communities in areas of joint concern.
Trump Thursday signed an executive order which he says would lift free speech restrictions on churches and other religious groups.
He will also meet, in Rome, with Italian President Sergio Mattarella to discuss multilateral cooperation and bilateral relations between the United States and Italy. Trump will later participate in the G-7 Summit in Taormina hosted by the Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.
From Rome, the President will continue on to previously announced visits to Brussels for the NATO summit and meetings with EU and Belgian leaders, and to Sicily for the G7 meeting.
Trump’s foreign tour begins in the Middle East. In Saudi Arabia, he will discuss with King Salman bin Abd Al-Aziz issues of strategic concern, including efforts to defeat terrorist groups and discredit radical ideologies, the White House said.
From Saudi Arabia, Trump will fly to Israel, where he will meet President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The leaders will discuss a range of regional issues, including the need to counter the threats posed by Iran and its proxies, and by ISIS and other terrorist groups. “They will also discuss ways to advance a…