FILE- Pope Francis arrives during his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican, October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi Reuters
ROME/VATICAN CITY: 31 January 2019: Pope Francis extended his warm greetings to the people of the UAE in a video message released by the Vatican on Thursday, ahead of his visit to Abu Dhabi next week.
In the video, posted in Italian, he said the UAE is a "country that is striving to be a model for co-existence, human fraternity, and meeting of faiths and civilizations".
The Pope's landmark three-day visit - from February 3 to 5 - will culminate in a public Mass for 135,000 people at Zayed Sports City.
The Pope in the video said he was looking forward to meeting with the family of Founding Father Sheikh Zayed at the home of the Abu Dhabi royal family, a home of "prosperity and peace, of coexistence and collaboration".
Quoting the Sheikh Zayed, he said: "True wealth lies not just in material possibilities. The real wealth of a nation is the individuals who hear the sound of their future."
He thanked everyone for "their courage and determination in stressing that faith in God unites us all and never divides.
"Faith brings us together even in the face of differences. It also keeps us away from hostility and indifference. I am happy on this occasion, granted to me by God, which will create a new chapter in the history of relations between faiths," Pope Francis said