The Vatican is hosting a conference next week aimed at trying to head off a threatened nuclear confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea, bringing together 11 Nobel peace laureates and top U.N. and NATO officials as well as ambassadors from key countries.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said Monday that the Nov. 10-11 conference was part of the Vatican's long-standing effort to promote a nuclear weapons-free world. But he denied that the conference, first reported by La Repubblica newspaper, represented a mediation effort by Pope Francis.

Francis has already urged Washington and Pyongyang to step back from the brink of war and urged mediation efforts by others.

It wasn't immediately clear if North Korea or China would be represented at the conference: Neither has diplomatic relations with the Holy See.