FILE - Pope Francis - Flickr/Jeffrey Bruno
CAIRO – 26 December 2019: President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi congratulated Pope Francis on Christmas and New Year celebrations, and wished him success in his message to spread religious tolerance peace worldwide, in a telephone call on Thursday, the Presidency said.
Sisi affirmed Egypt’s appreciation of all international religious leaders around the world, especially the Vatican leadership as it has strong relations with Egypt, especially in light of Egypt’s approach to establishing coexistence, freedom of worship, and respect for others, presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said in a statement.
Through this approach, Egypt aims to consolidate a culture that will start from Egypt and spread to the region.
Sisi, on the other side, stressed the need to understand the specificity and difference of the principles of the region's culture, adding that such difference requires interaction with that culture with a deep understanding in a framework of acceptance and respect.
For his part, Pope Francis praised Egypt's remarkable efforts that aim at achieving rapprochement, coexistence, and understanding among people of all religions. He added that these values were embodied in many practices on the ground, the most prominent of which was the opening of the Cathedra of the Nativity in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital, besides Al-Fattah Al-Aleem Mosque.
Earlier in December, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made a visit to Vatican, the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, where he affirmed Egypt's keenness on boosting consultation and coordination with the Vatican on key issues of common concern at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels, according to a statement by the foreign ministry.
Meeting with Vatican Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Shoukry stressed Egypt’s steadfast stance towards establishing a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The statement reported that the two sides exchanged views on regional issues of common concern, as the Vatican Foreign Minister was keen to listen to the Egyptian assessment of developments in the situation in Libya, Syria and the African Sahel region.