Page last updated at 12:10 GMT, Monday, 16 February 2009

Brown to have meeting with Pope

Gordon Brown
Mr Brown has not met the Pope since becoming prime minister

Gordon Brown is to have an audience with the Pope in the Vatican, Downing Street has said.

They will discuss "development issues" at Thursday's meeting, the prime minister's spokesman added.

It will be Mr Brown's first meeting with Benedict XVI since becoming prime minister in 2007, although they met on two occasions when he was chancellor.

He will also hold talks with Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in Rome on Thursday.

These will focus on economic issues to be addressed at the G20 summit in London in April.

Mr Berlusconi is currently chairman of the G7 group of industrialised nations.

Mr Brown's spokesman said: "The prime minister, not as prime minister but as chancellor, has met the Pope on two previous occasions.

"No doubt they will want to discuss in particular many of the development issues, which is what they have talked about before."

Mr Brown will be meeting the heads of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday.

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