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Pope and Jordan’s Abdullah hold talks over tea

40-minute meeting at the Vatican comes ahead of pontiff’s pilgrimage to the region

Pope Francis, right, listens to King Abdullah II of Jordan during an audience at the Vatican, Monday, April 7, 2014. (photo credit: AP/L'Osservatore Romano)
Pope Francis, right, listens to King Abdullah II of Jordan during an audience at the Vatican, Monday, April 7, 2014. (photo credit: AP/L'Osservatore Romano)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis and King Abdullah II of Jordan held talks over tea at the Vatican with an eye to the pontiff’s upcoming visit.

Francis leaves May 24 for Jordan, the first stop on a three-day pilgrimage that will also take him to the West Bank and Israel.

The Vatican said Francis and the king chatted Monday in a “cordial and informal atmosphere” for 40 minutes. Instead of the traditional venue of the formal papal studio in the Apostolic Palace, they met in the modest Vatican hotel where Francis lives.

The Holy See said the king, accompanied by his religious affairs adviser, reaffirmed his “most open willingness to work together in the commitment for peace and interreligious dialogue” in the Middle East.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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