Vatican: pope to meet with Putin this month

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican says Pope Francis will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vatican City on Nov. 25.

Details are still being worked out, but the Vatican press office said Thursday the private audience would likely take place that afternoon. Francis has been keenly following the war in Syria, and given Russia's prominent role in trying to resolve the fears over Syria's arsenal of chemical weapons, the two men would likely discuss international efforts to end the suffering and warfare there.

A papal visit to Russia eluded the globe-trotting John Paul II during his long papacy. The Russian Orthodox Church at times has accused Catholics of poaching converts in Russia following the demise of Soviet Communism, and there were also disputes over church property.

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