Freed prisoners - Press Photo
CAIRO – 28 April 2017: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi directed the Armed Forces to secure Pope Francis’ two-day visit in Cairo, according to a statement by the Ministry of Defense on Friday.
The Ministry of Defense deployed more patrols and raised the level of readiness “to create a suitable environment of security and stability” during the Pope’s visit, the statement added.
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church will arrive in Cairo on Saturday afternoon at an invitation from President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi; he will meet with Sisi in Cairo-based Ittihadyia palace on Friday, after which an open meeting will be held between the pontifical delegation and Egyptian officials.
Ahead of his arrival, Pope Francis said in a video message he is coming to Cairo as a friend and a “messenger of peace,” to “offer a valid contribution to interreligious dialogue with the Islamic world and to ecumenical dialogue with the venerated and beloved Coptic Orthodox Church."
In November 2014, President Sisi met with Pope Francis at the Apostolic Palace in Rome. Both sides discussed the resumption of dialogue between Al-Azhar and the Vatican by reactivating the Al-Azhar-Vatican joint committee for dialogue.
The dialogue was suspended in 2011 after the former Roman Catholic Pope, Benedict XVI, called for protecting Coptic Christians in Egypt following an attack on two churches in Alexandria in 2011 that claimed the lives of 23 people.
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