A few weeks are left before Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States. While people are preparing feverishly, from the United States, several reports have already spread regarding the awaited ninth international trip of the Argentine Pontiff. One of these regards a possible meeting between the Holy Father and the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, at the headquarters of the UN in New York, which the Holy Father will visit on September 25.
News of the possible meeting was attributed to Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See at the United Nations in New York, who said to local radio stations: “The Pope will meet Putin, only if he is not late …”
The country that is leading the United Nations Security Council in September is Russia. However, there is no official confirmation of such a meeting since President Putin is scheduled to address the Assembly two days later.
Pope Francis will be the fourth Pontiff to address the United Nations after Paul VI (October 4, 1965), John Paul II (October 2, 1979 and October 5, 1995), and Benedict XVI (April 18, 2008, seven years ago). Moreover, the Holy Father — who on his arrival will be greeted by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by his wife Ban Soon-taek — with numerous Heads of State present will sign the “Program for Development 2015-2030.”
There also seems to be planned a private conversation with Ban Ki-moon followed by the presentation of their respective delegations, which will proceed with an exchange of gifts and the signing of the Book of Honor. A pause is also planned at the Green Wall, where the Pope will place a floral tribute in memory of UN employees fallen in mission.
Meanwhile, the White House confirmed that President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, will be on hand to greet the Holy Father when he arrives at Andrews Air Force Base. This will be only the second time that an American head of state will welcome the Pope at the military base. The first time was in 2008 when former President George W. Bush welcomed Pope Benedict XVI.