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Holy See

Preparation Is Underway for Possible Visit of Pope Francis to Iraq in 2020

The Iraqi Government has unfrozen a part of credits destined to prepare a possible future visit to Iraq of Pope Francis, foreseen for the end of the year 2020, indicated the Vatican Agency Fides, on July 6, 2019. However, up to now the possibility of such a visit has not been officially confirmed by the Holy See.

The first tranche of financing is of three billion Iraqi dinars, namely 2,247 billion euros. It will be allocated to begin the works of urban developments in the cities on the itinerary of the Pope’s trip, revealed Abdul Amir al Hamdani, Iraqi Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Antiquities, in a statement made to a television chain by satellite, taken up by the national media.

Last June 10, on receiving the participants in the Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO), the Pope expressed his desire to go to Iraq “next year.”

On June 20, Iraqi President Barhan Salih, sent to the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Cardinal Louis Raphael I Sako, an official letter of invitation addressed to Pope Francis.

Cardinal Sako proffered the idea according to which the Pope, in the course of his trip to Iraq, could visit, in addition to Baghdad, the site of Ur of the Chaldeans, original place of Patriarch Abraham, highlighted Fides.

He also said that the Holy Father could meet, in the north of the country, with refugees that have yet to return to their homes, after fleeing especially from the city of Mosul, given the menace of the so-called “Islamic State,” according to the same source.

Last November, Pope Francis received in the Vatican Barham Salih, President of the Republic of Iraq.

And last December, the Vatican Secretary of States, Cardinal Pietro Parolin went to Iraq.

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