Macron meets Pope Francis at Vatican

Macron meets Pope Francis at Vatican

Pope Francis shares a word with French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte during a private audience at the Vatican on June 26, 2018. Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron is meeting privately with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Francis ushered the French leader into his studio, then the two men chatted amiably a few minutes on Tuesday before media were escorted out of the room.

The encounter comes amid European tensions over migrants, with the pontiff urging nations to welcome all the refugees they can properly manage. Italy is angry that France sends back migrants who illegally enter France from Italy.

France recently scathingly criticised Italy's new populist government for refusing to allow docking by a private rescue ship with more than 600 migrants aboard. Spain eventually gave the ship safe harbour.

Macron's visit is strictly Vatican-related, with no meetings scheduled with Italian leaders.

A Swiss Guard picket greeted Macron, and his wife, Brigitte, upon arrival.