Pope Francis cancels Cop28 visit to Dubai

Doctors instructed pontiff to cancel trip, says Vatican

Pope Francis: 'I am not well'

Pope Francis: 'I am not well'
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Pope Francis will not attend the Cop28 summit in Dubai because of ill health, the Vatican says.

“Although the general clinical picture of the Holy Father in relation to the state of influenza and inflammation of the respiratory tract has improved, the doctors have asked the Pope not to make the trip planned for the next few days to Dubai,” the Vatican statement said.

Pope Francis accepted the doctor’s advice “with much regret", it said.

The Pope, 86, was due to begin a three-day visit to Dubai on Friday.

He has travelled less in recent years because of health concerns.

The Pope was due to arrive in the UAE on Friday evening and receive an official welcome before meetings with various heads of state on Saturday.

On Sunday, he was due to attend the inauguration ceremony of the Cop28 Faith Pavilion.

The Vatican is looking at ways for the Pope to remain involved in the summit, according to the statement released by Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See's press office.

10 years of Pope Francis - in pictures

Mr Bruni on Tuesday said his meetings with world leaders would be "relatively brief" and focus on climate change, which is close to the pontiff's heart.

Pope Francis had previously visited the UAE in 2019 where he signed the Document on Human Fraternity, along with Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar.

This year, the pontiff said the document was a road map for peace.

“The greatness of any country is not measured solely by its wealth but by its substantial role in spreading the values of peace, brotherhood, coexistence, and defending them,” Pope Francis told Al Ittihad newspaper in June.

His landmark visit to the UAE in 2019, meanwhile, was the first time a pontiff visited the country.

He led a huge open-air Mass at Zayed Sports City in the capital, which was attended by more than 100,000 people.

Updated: November 29, 2023, 3:17 PM