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Pope Francis to meet Biden, Zelensky and Modi at G7 summit

REUTERS/CIRO DE LUCA / JUNE 12
                                Pope Francis attends the weekly general audience at Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican.
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REUTERS/CIRO DE LUCA / JUNE 12

Pope Francis attends the weekly general audience at Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican.

VATICAN CITY >> Pope Francis will meet with the leaders of the United States, Ukraine, France and India, among others, on the sidelines of the Group of 7 (G7) summit in Italy, the Vatican said on Thursday.

Francis, who in January warned against the “perverse” dangers of artificial intelligence, is due to take part in leaders’ talks on the new technology on Friday.

He is the first pope to participate in G7 discussions.

Issuing a program for his one-day appearance, the Vatican said Francis would have a bilateral meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, a fellow Catholic.

The Vatican said he would also have one-on-one meetings with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy, France’s Emmanuel Macron, India’s Narendra Modi, Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kenya’s William Ruto, Algeria’s Abdelmadjid Tebboune, and the head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva.

Francis and Biden met at the Vatican in 2021 and the president said the pope told him he was a “good Catholic” who can receive communion even as conservative U.S. bishops wanted to deny it because of Biden’s support for abortion rights.

The two men also spoke in October last year about the crisis in the Middle East after Hamas’ attack on Israel.

Biden has spoken movingly of his respect for the pope, praising his empathy and calling him a “decent man.” They stay in touch, Biden has said.

In November 2020, the pope offered his blessings and congratulations to Biden in a phone call upon his election.

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