The Latest: Biden's grand welcome at Italian PM's residence

The Latest: Biden's grand welcome at Italian PM's residence


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VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Latest on Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Vatican City and Rome (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

Vice President Joe Biden has received a grand welcome at the Palazzo Chigi — that's the Rome residence of Italy's prime minister.

An honor guard and military band awaited Biden in black uniforms and red and white hats. Biden and Premier Matteo Renzi stood together as the band played the American and Italian anthems.

The leaders then strolled along a red carpet into the palace for a private meeting.

The White House hasn't said what's on the agenda. But Italy, the U.S. and other countries are struggling to deal with the instability in Libya that has fueled the growth of the Islamic State group in the North African nation.

Biden plans to return to Washington after his meeting with Renzi.

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1:15 p.m.

Vice President Joe Biden is meeting with the Vatican's secretary of state at the Apostolic Palace.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin awaited Biden in the gold-adorned Treaty Room. The two exchanged a few jokes and said they were glad to see each other again as they prepared to start their meeting.

The White House hasn't said what issues the two leaders planned to discuss in their private meeting.

The sit-down with the cardinal is Biden's last stop at the Vatican. He spoke earlier at a conference on regenerative medicine in Vatican City and greeted Pope Francis.

Biden plans to meet with Italian Premier Matteo Renzi before returning to Washington.

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12:50 p.m.

Vice President Joe Biden has spoken privately with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Biden is in Vatican City to speak about cancer research at a conference on regenerative medicine. The pope also spoke at the conference, after Biden.

The White House says in between their speeches, the pope greeted Biden privately offstage. They also exchanged small tokens.

Biden and the pope also spoke briefly after their speeches to the conference as they greeted others in attendance. They were seen smiling and chatting briefly in front of the stage.

Biden was joined by his son, Hunter, and his daughter Ashley Biden's husband, Howard Krein. Biden's son in law is a physician who has been involved in his push on cancer research.

Biden's other son, Beau, died of cancer last year.

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12:35 p.m.

Pope Francis is stressing that stressing that research advances in curing diseases must be available to all people.

The pope was addressing a conference at the Vatican Friday about regenerative medicine, which included a speech by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden about cancer research.

Francis says research, both academic and industrial must give "unwavering attention" to moral issues, so it will "safeguard human life and the dignity of the person."

The pope cited his previous comments that when it comes to health care and other areas of progress, "an economy of exclusion and inequality" must be opposed because that would mean "the mechanism of profit prevails over the value of human life."

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11:40 a.m.

Vice President Joe Biden says the world is on the cusp of unprecedented scientific discoveries and medical breakthroughs. But he says it's critical not to forget that real people's lives are behind that work.

Biden is speaking about cancer research at the Vatican at a conference on regenerative medicine. He's reflecting on the death of his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, to brain cancer last year.

Biden says there's always a child, spouse or loved one in pain. He says they're sustained by the hope that there will be a cure.

The vice president says the international community must tackle cancer the way it tackles infectious disease. He's calling for greater data-sharing and more global investment in research. Biden says philanthropists, governments and corporations should all step up.

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9 a.m.

Having pushed to accelerate cancer research at home, Vice President Joe Biden is working to focus the global community's attention on the devastating disease in a speech at the Vatican.

At a conference on regenerative medicine Friday, Biden plans to draw connections between medical research and broader societal issues that Pope Francis has shined a light on. Biden will see the pontiff, who also speaks at the conference, but it's unclear whether they will hold a substantial meeting.

Last year, Biden lost a son to brain cancer. Months later he declared a "moonshot" to cure cancer.

Biden, a Catholic, also plans to meet with Cardinal Pietro Parolin at the Apostolic Palace. He'll also visit Palazzo Chigi to meet with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi before returning to Washington on Friday afternoon.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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