Colombia's Santos to visit Pope Francis in June: report

President Juan Manuel Santos, pictured here on May 22, 2015, will meet Pope Francis in mid-June as part of a European tour, Colombia's foreign minister said in comments (AFP Photo/Guillermo Legaria)

Bogota (AFP) - President Juan Manuel Santos will meet Pope Francis in mid-June as part of a European tour, Colombia's foreign minister said in comments reported Sunday.

After meeting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Santos will "travel to Rome for an audience with the Holy Father, who will welcome him on June 15," Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin told the El Tiempo newspaper.

Santos's tour begins with a summit in Belgium and will also take him to Sweden to discuss trade issues and Swedish support for a post-conflict Colombia.

"We have talked with the Europeans about creating a trust fund for projects" to be implemented after the war, Holguin told the newspaper.

Peace talks between the Colombian government and leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been under way since 2012 in Havana, and on Saturday Santos called for accelerated negotiations.

Since the Marxist-inspired FARC was founded in 1964, the Colombian conflict has killed some 220,000 people and uprooted five million.

"The international community is convinced that Colombia is on the right track and therefore must persevere in its search for peace," Holguin said, but warned that the world is "concerned the talks will slow over time."

The negotiations have reached partial deals on several issues, including political participation for FARC members and fighting the illegal drug trafficking that has fueled the conflict.

But a final accord remains elusive.