Pope's visit a landmark moment for the region, says Gargash

Pope Francis is due in the UAE on February 3, which will be the first time a leader of the Catholic Church has visited the Gulf

Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash speaks to journalists in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, June 18, 2018. The UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition fighting against Shiite rebels for control of Yemen's port city of Hodeida. Gargash said Monday that the battle for Hodeida is aimed at forcing the country’s Shiite rebels into negotiating an end to a yearslong war. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
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The Pope’s visit to the UAE will be a momentous occasion for the Gulf region, said Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

Pope Francis is due in the country on February 3. His trip will be the first time a leader of the Roman Catholic Church visits the Gulf.

His visit will be a highlight of the UAE’s Year of Tolerance, during which religious acceptance will be an important feature.

Dr Gargash said the pontiff’s trip will be a watershed moment for the Middle East.

“The Pope’s upcoming landmark visit to the UAE represents a momentous milestone in the region,” he tweeted.

“His Holiness’s presence alongside the Grand Imam of Al Azhar in Abu Dhabi sends a powerful message that the appeal and values of tolerance are on the rise in the Middle East.”

About 120,000 Catholics are expected to attend a historic Mass at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on February 5.

Most stadium places will be reserved for Catholic worshippers but there is also expected to be a large government delegation as well as Muslim religious leaders at the special service.


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