Obama to meet pope on July 10


Barack Obama

Obama, who favors a woman's right to abortion and has taken other measures that the Vatican strongly opposes, will be in Italy from July 8 to July 10 for the Group of Eight industrialised powers' summit.

"On his upcoming trip overseas on Friday, July 10th, the president will visit with the holy father, Pope Benedict the XVI, to discuss a range of issues, including their shared belief in the dignity of all people," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

Without confirming the meeting, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi earlier said "the pope was ready to meet the president of the United States, Barack Obama, on the afternoon of July 10."

A Vatican source involved in the preparations said the meeting would take place at 4:00 pm (1930 IST).

The Vatican spokesman also announced that during the G8 summit the pope will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, the first Catholic to hold that post in Japan, on July 7 and Australia's leader Kevin Rudd on July 9.

Obama is a committed Christian and despite his differences with the Roman Catholic Church also has similar views as the pope on some international issues. Both have taken steps to improve relations with the Islamic world.

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