.- French President Nicolas Sarkozy will go to the Vatican next week for talks with Pope Benedict XVI, the Associated Press reports.
David Martinon, Sarkozy's spokesman, described the Vatican as "extremely active and influential" in diplomacy.
"It's a partner that counts, and it's a heavyweight ally on a great number of subjects," such as on Lebanon and the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, Martinon said.
Sarkozy will meet with the Pope on the morning of December 20. The visit will be head of stateâs first since he took office.
That afternoon he will also meet with the Italian premier and the Spanish prime minister to discuss a union of Mediterranean countries.