Lithuanian officials have already discussed preparations for Pope Francis' planned visit in 2018, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Wednesday.
Pope Francis
© LaPresse / Scanpix

"We have already met and discussed what preparations will need to be done. Since this is a huge event for the state, we have also outlined certain needs in terms of people's security and infrastructure," he told reporters.

Skvernelis does not think that additional forces will be needed to ensure security during the visit.

"I don't think we'll need to hire some people additionally. We have structures of our own," the prime minister said.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė's office confirmed earlier in the day that the 80-year-old Argentinian pontiff plans to visit Lithuania in the autumn of 2018.

Skvernelis said that he will not comment on the visit until he receives an official confirmation from the Vatican.

Pope John Paul II paid the first, and so far only, papal visit to Lithuania in 1993.

Some 77 percent of Lithuanians identify themselves as Roman Catholics, according to the last population census in 2011.

BNS
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