An Israeli official said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not meet Pope Francis on a trip to Italy this week, backing off from an earlier announcement that a meeting was planned, the Associated Press reported.
The official cited "logistical reasons" for the change. But the Vatican said a meeting had never been planned.
Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said Monday, Oct 21, "the Israeli premier is welcome, but this week the pope had other commitments."
Israeli media speculated that bad planning or an overzealous office worker were behind the initial statement. Last week, Francis met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Israeli official said Netanyahu's other scheduled meetings with Italian leaders and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry would take place as planned.
The AP said he spoke on condition of anonymity pending the release of Netanyahu's official schedule.