UAE hails Pope’s up­com­ing visit

The Gulf Today - - FRONT PAGE -

ABU DHABI: His Ho­li­ness Pope Fran­cis is to visit the United Arab Emi­rates in Fe­bru­ary next year, it has been an­nounced in Abu Dhabi and in the Vat­i­can City, in Rome.

The visit, to Abu Dhabi is at the in­vi­ta­tion of His High­ness Sheikh Mo­hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Com­man­der of

the UAE Armed Forces, and will take place from Feb.3 to Feb.5, 2019.

His High­ness Sheikh Mo­hammed Bin Rashidal­mak­toum,vi­cepres­i­dent,prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted “we wel­come the news of Pope Fran­cis’ visit to the United Arab Emi­rates next Fe­bru­ary - a visit that will strengthen our ties and un­der­stand­ing of each other, en­hance in­ter­faith di­a­logue and help us to work to­gether to main­tain and build peace among the nations of the world.”

“The UAE is de­lighted to wel­come His Ho­li­ness Pope Fran­cis on the up­com­ing visit to the UAE,” tweeted Sheikh Mo­hamed Bin Zayed.

“He is a sym­bol of peace, tol­er­ance and the pro­mo­tion of brother­hood. We look for­ward to a his­toric visit, through which we will seek di­a­logue on the peace­ful co­ex­is­tence among peo­ples.”

In a state­ment wel­com­ing the his­toric visit, Sheikh Ab­dul­lah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of For­eign Af­fairs and In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion, stressed its im­por­tance and ex­pressed the ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the UAE gov­ern­ment and peo­ple, say­ing that it would build stronger ties of friend­ship and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the UAE and the Vat­i­can.

The Pope’s visit, Sheikh Ab­dul­lah said, is in ac­cor­dance with the UAE’S pol­icy and ef­forts, un­der the lead­er­ship of Pres­i­dent His High­ness Sheikh Khal­ifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to es­tab­lish and sup­port strong foun­da­tions of brother­hood and peace­ful co­ex­is­tence, both re­gion­ally and glob­ally. “Pope Fran­cis’ ac­cep­tance of the UAE in­vi­ta­tion strength­ens these ef­forts and will fur­ther pro­mote in­ter­faith di­a­logue,” he added.

He noted that there are sig­ni­icant and sin­cere in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to es­tab­lish ini­tia­tives and move­ments that can con­trib­ute to­wards the deep­en­ing of global hu­man re­la­tions based on the prin­ci­ples of tol­er­ance and co-ex­is­tence.

“This was of beneit both to nations and to peo­ples,” he said.

In a com­ment on the an­nounce­ment, Greg Burke, Di­rec­tor of the press ofice of the Holy See, said, “The theme of the visit is ‘Make Me a Chan­nel of Your Peace’ - and that’s the Pope’s in­ten­tion in go­ing to the United Arab Emi­rates. How all peo­ple of good­will can work for peace will be a ma­jor topic on this trip.”

As was the case with the visit by Pope Fran­cis to Egypt in April last year, Burke said, “This visit shows the fun­da­men­tal im­por­tance the Holy Fa­ther gives to in­ter­re­li­gious di­a­logue. Pope Fran­cis vis­it­ing the Arab world is a per­fect ex­am­ple of the cul­ture of en­counter.” Dur­ing the visit, the Vat­i­can said, Pope Fran­cis will par­tic­i­pate in an In­ter­na­tional In­ter­faith Meet­ing on ‘Hu­man Fra­ter­nity.’

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