AMMAN - Pope Benedict XVI will meet Muslim leaders on a trip to Jordan in May and call for improving interfaith dialogue, a church official said on Tuesday.
"The pope will meet Islamic leaders and deliver a speech to affirm the importance of interfaith dialogue between Christians and Muslims," said Refaat Badr, the spokesman of the Roman Catholic Church in Jordan.
The pontiff will travel to Jordan on May 8-11 at the beginning of a trip that is also expected to take him and Nazareth in Israel and to the Palestinian Bethlehem in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, Badr said.
During his meeting with the Muslim notables at the capital's King Hussein Mosque, the pope "will stress that religion is key to serving global peace and justice, particularly in the Middle East," Badr said.
Benedict has made repeated gestures of good will towards Muslims.
In the most stunning gesture, during a visit to Turkey, he assumed the posture of Muslim prayer at Istanbul's Blue Mosque, accompanied by a Muslim dignitary.
The Vatican maintains ties with several Muslim organisations around the world.
There are around 200,000 Christians among Jordan's nearly six million people, half of them Catholic.