Israeli President Shimon Peres is scheduled to meet with Pope Benedict XVI on September 9th in Rome. For Peres, this will mark his first trip abroad as president.
According to reports, Peres plans to spend four days in Italy, during which he will also hold talks with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Romano Prodi. He may also participate in an international conference that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa are expected to attend.
Critics fear that Peres, who celebrated his 84th birthday last Saturday, may be using his ceremonial, a-political position to push forward partisan politics.