VATICAN CITY: Argentina’s new president, Javier Milei, will have a private audience with his compatriot Pope Francis on February 12, the Vatican said Monday.

Milei is expected to repeat an invitation for Francis to visit Argentina. The 87-year-old pope has not been to his homeland since being named head of the Catholic Church in 2013.

Prior to his October election, Milei had referred to Francis as “the evil one,“ “nefarious,“ and an “imbecile” who “promotes communism”.

The two appeared to reconcile when Francis called to congratulate the libertarian president on his election and Milei invited the pope on a visit.

Milei, 53, is also due to attend a February 11 mass for the canonisation of Argentina’s first saint in St Peter’s Basilica.

A self-described “anarcho-capitalist”, Melei was brought up Catholic but claims to have been a student of the Jewish Torah in recent years. -AFP

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