President Shimon Peres will meet Pope Francis I in the Vatican next week, the President’s Residence announced Wednesday, noting that Peres would be “one of the first leaders” to meet the pope since his inauguration last month.
In Rome, the president will also meet Italian leaders and members of the Jewish community.
During his meeting with the Pope Monday, “Peres will raise the issue of furthering peace and stability in the Middle East, progressing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the common struggle against world poverty, and the deepening of relations between Israel and the Vatican and between Christians and the Jewish people,” the President’s Residence said in a statement.
In consultations with Italian leaders, Peres will “discuss in depth the Iranian threat, increasing the economic and diplomatic sanctions against Iran, European involvement in the peace process and strengthening the strategic, technological and economic relations between Israel and Italy,” the statement said.
Peres will also receive an honor at the city of Assisi.
Peres has already invited the pope to visit Israel, in what would be Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s second visit to the Holy Land. As The Times of Israel reported this week, Bergoglio visited in 1973, arriving just as the Yom Kippur War broke out.