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International

Trump meets Pope Francis at the Vatican

11:45, Wednesday, 24 May, 2017
Trump meets Pope Francis at the Vatican

US President Donald Trump has met Pope Francis at the Vatican for a short private audience on the third leg of his overseas trip.
     He arrived for the meeting along with his wife Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
     The meeting was keenly awaited as the two men have already clashed at a distance on issues including migration and climate change.
     Mr Trump will later meet Italy's president and prime minister.
     He will then fly to Brussels for a Nato summit.
     He earlier vowed to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve peace, as he ended the Middle East leg of his tour.
     The US leader began his foreign trip with a two-day stop in Saudi Arabia over the weekend, urging Muslim countries to take the lead in combating radicalisation.Mr Trump and his entourage arrived at the Vatican just before 06:30 GMT. The private audience was expected to last about 20 minutes, according to AFP news agency.
     Afterwards, he will hold talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.It is hard to think of two more contrasting characters than Pope Francis and President Trump.
     On one hand, the Jesuit who has made his mission the championing of the poor and dispossessed; on the other the property developer who has championed getting rich, and surrounded himself with billionaires in his cabinet.
     And though this will be their first meeting, they've already sparred. During the election the Pope on a visit to the Mexico-US border said that people who only think of building walls instead of bridges were not Christian.
     Donald Trump described those comments as disgraceful, and accused the pontiff of being a pawn of the Mexican government.

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