VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis and King Abdullah II of Jordan held talks over tea at the Vatican with an eye to the pontiff's upcoming visit.
Francis leaves May 24 for Jordan, the first stop on a three-day pilgrimage that will also take him to the West Bank and Israel.
The Vatican said Francis and the king chatted Monday in a "cordial and informal atmosphere" for 40 minutes. Instead of the traditional venue of the formal papal studio in the Apostolic Palace, they met in the modest Vatican hotel where Francis lives.
The Holy See said the king, accompanied by his religious affairs adviser, reaffirmed his "most open willingness to work together in the commitment for peace and interreligious dialogue" in the Middle East.