Pope Francis Weighs Cuba Visit During U.S. Trip: Vatican

Claudio Lavanga and Alastair Jamieson

Pope Francis is considering a visit to Cuba when he travels to the United States later this year, the Vatican said Friday - a symbolic move at a time when the nations begin to restore diplomatic ties.

The pontiff may stop in Cuba as part of his visit to New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. in September, officials said, but no firm plans have been made.

Pope Francis arrives to lead the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, February 18, 2015.
Giampiero Sposito | Reuters

"The Holy Father has taken into consideration the idea of making a stop in Cuba on the occasion of his upcoming trip to the United States," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

"However, contacts with the Cuban authorities are still in too early a phase for it to be possible to regard this stop as a firm decision and an operative plan."

The Vatican has been credited with playing a role in helping restore relations between Havana and Washington. President Barack Obama earlier this year announced a series of measures to end decades of deadlock.

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