Barack Obama, First Lady to to give pope a rare personal welcome


Washington: In a rare gesture, US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle would greet Pope Francis on his arrival at Joint Base Andrews, ahead of the formal welcome at the White House on September 23.

"The President looks forward to continuing this conversation with the Holy Father during his first visit to the United States as Pope," the White House said.

"It is not necessarily routine for the US President to welcome a foreign leader at the Andrews Air Force, but there has been precedent to it," said Eric Schulz the White House Deputy Press Secretary.

"President Bush met Pope Benedict XVI, with First Lady Laura Bush, in 2008 at Andrews. So we felt like this was customary," Eric said.

The Pope's September 22-27 US visit will include stops in Washington, New York, and Philadelphia.

The Washington leg of his trip will take place September 22-24, during which time the Pope will visit President Barack Obama at the White House.

"During the visit, the President and the Pope will continue the dialogue, which they began during the President's visit to the Vatican in March 2014, on their shared values and commitments on a wide range of issues," the White House said. 

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