Pope to take 10 refugees back to Italy

TAGS: Migration, Diplomacy, Religion

Greek state television ERT reports Pope Francis has apparently offered to take 10 refugees back to Italy with him when he departs the Greek island of Lesvos after a historic visit.

ERT says it appears eight Syrians and two Afghans will be offered passage Saturday. The inclusion of the latter would be a highly symbolic move at a time when Europe has stopped automatically considering Afghans to be refugees and doesn't include them among the nationalities whose asylum applications are approved.

The state television channel didn't cite a source for the information. Asked about the report, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi told The Associated Press: "I have nothing to say at this time."

Asked if he would have an update later, Lombardi said: "Each moment has its significance." [AP}