Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed congratulates Iraqis after Pope Francis visit

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince praises Vatican's work to 'strengthen unity and friendship'

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed congratulated the people of Iraq after Pope Francis's landmark visit to the country.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces said he hoped the pontiff's four-day visit would mark a new era of peace and prosperity for the Iraqi people.

"We greatly admire His Holiness’s efforts to strengthen unity and friendship," Sheikh Mohamed said on Twitter.

Over the past few days, Pope Francis visited Iraqi cities including the capital Baghdad, Najaf in the south, and Erbil and Mosul in the north.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church attended a meeting for interfaith dialogue in the city of Ur, the birthplace of the Prophet Abraham.

The Pope emphasised the importance of promoting human fraternity and called on all believers to revive its values.

He also held a historic meeting with leading Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani.

On Monday, the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity praised Pope Francis's visit, calling it a true promotion of the values advocated by a document signed by the pontiff during his 2019 visit to the UAE.

Cardinal Ayusu Geksot, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and a member of the higher committee, accompanied the Pope on his visit to Iraq.

Cardinal Geksot said the trip was to "promote cultural dialogue and a culture of convergence and inclusiveness, so that everyone in our society can enjoy peace in his life regardless of his race, culture or religion".

Pope Francis made his first visit to the Arabian Peninsula three years ago, on February 3.

During his three-day trip, he held talks with the UAE's rulers, and visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Founder’s Memorial, where a significant moment for interfaith relations took place.

Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, signed the Human Fraternity Document, which calls on people around the globe to unite for interfaith harmony and spread a message of peace.

His final day in the country was devoted to his flock, first with a blessing for the congregation at St Joseph's church and then to deliver the first public mass in the UAE.

Before about 150,000 people at Zayed Sports City, the Pope delivered a Mass that included contributions in nine different languages, from Arabic to Urdu, in a reflection of the UAE’s diversity and a gesture of respect to his hosts.

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