World News

Obama, Pope Francis Hold First Meeting

U.S. President Barack Obama is at the Vatican for his first-ever meeting with Pope Francis, focused on, as the White House put it, the two leaders' "shared commitment" to fighting "growing inequality."

News agencies reported Mr. Obama might use his visit with the pope to bolster his economic agenda at home. But disagreements over the issues of abortion and contraceptives coverage mandated under Mr. Obama's signature health care law could also be raised.

The talks come during a trip to Europe that has seen the U.S. leader focus largely on the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other top officials are accompanying Mr. Obama at the Vatican. Mr. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama met the previous pope, Benedict, at the Vatican in July 2009.

While in Italy, the U.S. president is also holding talks with Italian leaders. Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine is likely to be a major part of the discussions.

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