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WORLD : Gorbachev Writes to Pope, Suggests Meeting During Upcoming Italy Visit

September 08, 1989|From Times Wire Services

VATICAN CITY — Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev has written to Pope John Paul II to express his interest in meeting the pontiff for a full review of Vatican-Soviet relations, a Vatican official said today.

In Moscow, Soviet sources said Gorbachev is expected to visit Italy on Nov. 25.

A meeting between Gorbachev and the Polish-born Pope has been viewed as likely during the Soviet leader's stop in Italy, but there had been no confirmation by either side.

Such a meeting would be of historic proportions, the first between the head of a Soviet Communist Party that disparages religion and the leader of the world's 850 million Roman Catholics.

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