Kerry to hold talks with Vatican on Mideast, other issues

by Reuters
Monday, 13 January 2014 17:13 GMT

Pope Francis is greeted by ambassadors during an audience with the diplomatic corps at the Vatican, January 13, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Medichini/Pool

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The U.S. and Vatican's state secretaries meet on Tuesday to discuss the Middle East peace process, poverty, and humanitarian issues.

PARIS, Jan 13 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to the Vatican to meet a top aide to Pope Francis for talks on Tuesday on the Middle East and other foreign policy issues, the State Department said.

Kerry is to meet Secretary of State of the Holy See Pietro Parolin "to discuss foreign policy priorities, including Pope Francis' vocal leadership on the Middle East peace process, poverty, and humanitarian issues", spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

In his first "State of the World" address on Monday to diplomats accredited to the Vatican, Francis called for renewed political will to end the conflict in Syria and lamented a "general indifference" to the plight of refugees around the world. 

Kerry is the first U.S. secretary of state who is Catholic since Edmund Muskie, who served President Jimmy Carter from 1980-81, Psaki said.

After the stop at the Vatican, he is due to attend an international donors' conference for Syria in Kuwait City on Wednesday.

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