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Mr. Obama will spend three days at meetings in L’Aquila before meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome Friday afternoon, then flying to Ghana for a Saturday speech about the role of developing nations.

On Wednesday afternoon he toured L’Aquila with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The city was hit by an earthquake in April, leaving dozens dead, tens of thousands evacuated and damage to much of the historic city.

In a press conference Wednesday evening Mr. Berlusconi said Italy has fallen behind on its aid commitments because of the earthquake, but said they will make that up by the end of this year.

Still, he said there’s “a need to rethink our approach” to development aid to make sure it doesn’t end up benefiting the rich in those countries.