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Migrant crisis high on agenda of Pope's US visit

By Ians English

Washington, Sep 11: Europe's spiralling migrant crisis will be at the centre of talks between Pope Francis and US president Barack Obama during the pontiff's visit to Washington on September 23, the US administration said.

The two leaders "will continue the dialogue begun in March 2014" when Obama made an official visit to the pope in the Vatican, AKI quoted the US administration as saying.

pope francis

Other issues on the agenda include assistance for the poor and marginalised, the protection of religious minorities, the White House said.

Pope's US visit will also include stops in New York and Philadelphia, where all 10,000 tickets to an open-air mass are already taken.

Francis is expected to focus on the need for peace in a conflict-torn world facing the biggest refugee crisis since World War II when he addresses the UN in New York on September 25, the Holy See said on Wednesday.

More than half a million asylum-seekers have sought refuge in Europe this year from Syria, Africa and Asia, fleeing conflict, repression and poverty.

During his UN visit, Francis will have a meeting with secretary-general Ban Ki-moon followed by one with UN and Vatican officials, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican's apostolic nuncio and UN ambassador said on Wednesday.

The plight of migrants seeking a new life in Europe will be feature in the pope's UN speech because it is an international issue and "a universal problem," Auza said.


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