Pope in mile­stone trip to Ara­bian Penin­sula

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

VAT­I­CAN CITY | Pope Fran­cis plans to visit the United Arab Emi­rates in Fe­bru­ary to push for Chris­tian-Mus­lim di­a­logue and peace in the first-ever pa­pal visit to the Ara­bian Penin­sula.

The Feb. 3-5 trip to Abu Dhabi cen­ters around an in­ter­faith meet­ing, the Vat­i­can said Thurs­day. Fran­cis will also have the chance to meet with po­lit­i­cal lead­ers as well as the UAE’s Catholic com­mu­nity, which is made up al­most ex­clu­sively of for­eign work­ers.

It’s the lat­est trip to be an­nounced in what is shap­ing up to be one of Fran­cis’ busiest years for for­eign travel, with trips to Cen­tral Amer­ica, North Africa and now the Gulf con­firmed, and ones to Asia and East Africa un­der con­sid­er­a­tion.

While Fran­cis has vis­ited other Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity nations, in­clud­ing Egypt, Turkey and Jor­dan, the UAE trip will mark the first pas­toral visit by a pope to the Ara­bian Penin­sula. Pope Paul VI vis­ited Iran in 1970.

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