Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Saturday he may extend an invitation to Pope John Paul II to pay a first visit to Russia during talks next week.
"We'll see" is all Ivanov said when asked by journalists whether an invitation was on the agenda for the Monday meeting.
The pope has said he wants to visit Russia and was officially invited by former president Boris Yeltsin.
But Russian Orthodox patriarch Alexis II has placed conditions for such a visit including resolving disputes on claims of persecution by Catholics of Orthodox believers in Ukraine and the Roman Catholic church's religious forays into areas said to be traditionally reserved to the Orthodox church.
Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini said his government was hard at work seeking to bring together the Catholic church and the Russian Orthodox one.
Ivanov, who arrived in Italy late Friday, attended a ceremony Saturday to lay the stone for the first Russian Orthodox church in Rome -- ROME (AFP)
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