G7 summit: Pope Francis to meet U.S. President Joe Biden in Italy

Pope Francis G7 Flags of (left to right) Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Great Britain, USA, and Europe are displayed for a G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting at the City Hall in Muenster, western Germany on Nov. 3, 2022. | Credit: WOLFGANG RATTAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis will hold bilateral meetings on Friday with nine world leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, at the G7 summit in southern Italy, the Vatican confirmed Thursday.

The pontiff will also hold bilateral meetings with other notable leaders, including presidents Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, and Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine as well as the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi.

The Vatican said June 13 that Pope Francis will attend and speak at Session VI on the second day of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations summit, which is happening in the southern Italian region of Puglia from June 13–15.

The “outreach” session, which will also include invited nations and international organizations, will be on the topics of artificial intelligence, energy, and the Africa and Mediterranean regions.

Pope Francis and Biden last met at the Vatican at the end of October 2021.

Francis’ conversation with Biden will take place after the session. In the two hours allotted for bilateral meetings, the pope will also sit down with Modi and the presidents of Kenya, Algeria, Brazil, and Turkey.

Earlier in the day, the pope will hold bilateral talks with Zelenskyy, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Francis will also meet the general director of the International Monetary Fund.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni first announced Pope Francis’ participation in the G7 in a video message in April.

“This is the first time in history that a pontiff will participate in the work of a G7,” Meloni said.

“I am convinced that the presence of His Holiness will make a decisive contribution to the definition of a regulatory, ethical, and cultural framework for artificial intelligence,” she added.

After an already-full morning, including audiences with the president of Cape Verde and over 100 comedians from around the world, Pope Francis will fly by helicopter to Borgo Egnazia, the luxury resort where the G7 meeting is being held, in the town of Savelletri.

Pope Francis will arrive back at the Vatican around 9 p.m. local time after a helicopter ride of about an hour and a half.

The Vatican has been heavily involved in the conversation of artificial intelligence ethics, hosting high-level discussions with scientists and tech executives on the ethics of artificial intelligence in 2016 and 2020.

Pope Francis also chose artificial intelligence as the theme of his 2024 peace message, which recommended that global leaders adopt an international treaty to regulate the development and use of AI.

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