Official: Netanyahu Not Meeting Pope at Vatican After All

Monday, 21 Oct 2013 08:57 AM

 

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JERUSALEM — An Israeli official says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not meet Pope Francis on a trip to Italy this week, backing off from an earlier announcement that a meeting was planned.

The official cited "logistical reasons" for the change. But the Vatican said a meeting had never been planned.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said Monday "the Israeli premier is welcome, but this week the Pope had other commitments."

Israeli media speculated that bad planning or an overzealous office worker were behind the initial statement. Last week, Francis met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Israeli official said Netanyahu's other scheduled meetings with Italian leaders and Secretary of State John Kerry would take place as planned.

He spoke on condition of anonymity pending the release of Netanyahu's official schedule.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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