Pope arrives in UAE for historic Gulf seek advice from, condemns Yemen war
ABU DHABI (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Sunday changed into the primary pontiff to set foot at the Arabian Peninsula, simply hours after issuing his most powerful condemnation but of the war in Yemen, the place his host the United Arab Emirates has a number one army position.
Pope Francis is welcomed by means of Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, February three, 2019. Andrew Medichini/Pool by way of REUTERS
Shortly ahead of departing for Abu Dhabi, Pope Francis stated he was once following the humanitarian disaster in Yemen with nice fear, the usage of his common Sunday deal with in Vatican City to induce each side to put into effect a delicate peace deal and assist ship support to thousands and thousands of hungry folks.
“The cry of these children and their parents rises up to God,” he instructed tens of hundreds of folks in St. Peter’s Square.
“Let us pray strongly because they are children who are hungry, who are thirsty, they don’t have medicine and they are in danger of death,” he stated ahead of boarding his flight.
The UAE welcomed the Pope’s message on Yemen and believes the peace deal he referred to was once a historic step forward, Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash wrote on Twitter.
“Let us assure its implementation and make 2019 the year of peace in Yemen,” he stated after the pope landed in Abu Dhabi.
Yemen’s fighters agreed a ceasefire in December on the first main peace talks of the just about four-year-old war, which pits Arab states backing an exiled president towards the Iran-aligned Houthi motion that controls the capital.
Tens of hundreds of folks were killed in the war, and the United Nations says thousands and thousands are at the verge of hunger. Their survival will depend on the truce combating support from being bring to a halt by means of all-out combating for the rustic’s major port.
Francis was once greeted by means of Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who escorted him to fulfill Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar mosque and college, one of the vital major seats of studying of Sunni Islam. The pontiff embraced him.
Both males will hang conferences with Pope Francis on Monday.
The UAE performs a number one position in the Saudi-led coalition struggling with the Houthis in Yemen. The United Nations is making an attempt to put into effect a truce and troop withdrawal deal in the principle Yemeni port of Hodeidah, agreed on the December talks as a step that might pave the way in which for negotiations to finish the war.
Vatican officers have stated it’s not transparent whether or not Pope Francis will deal with the delicate matter in public or non-public all over his seek advice from to Abu Dhabi, which is aimed toward selling interfaith discussion.
The pope will meet Muslim leaders and rejoice an out of doors mass for some 135,000 Catholics, an tournament without a precedent at the Arabian peninsula. He has stated the shuttle, which ends up on Tuesday, is a chance to jot down “a new page in the history of relations between religions”.
The UAE, which named 2019 its Year of Tolerance, says the seek advice from displays its historical past as a “cradle of diversity”.
But it faces complaint from human rights teams for jailing activists, together with Ahmed Mansoor, an Emirati who’s serving a 10-year sentence for criticizing the federal government on social media.
“We are calling on Pope Francis to raise the issue of their incarceration with his hosts, and urge their immediate and unconditional release,” Amnesty International stated in a observation on Saturday. UAE government didn’t instantly respond to a request for remark.
The UAE is house to round 1 million expatriate Catholics, many from the Philippines. Another 1 million Catholics are believed to reside in different nations in the Arabian Peninsula.
Priests and diplomats describe the UAE as one of the vital least restrictive environments in the Gulf for Christian worship. But like its neighbors, the UAE does no longer permit dissent or complaint of its management.
All Gulf states excluding Saudi Arabia permit Christian worship in church buildings or church compounds and different premises with particular licenses. In Saudi Arabia, non-Muslims pray in secret gatherings in non-public properties and embassies.
Abu Dhabi’s crown prince is an best friend of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has reached out to Christian representatives out of the country as a part of makes an attempt to open up the conservative kingdom. Mohammed bin Salman’s world recognition has eroded because the homicide of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by means of Saudi brokers throughout the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.
The pope has already visited part a dozen predominantly Muslim international locations all over his reign, the usage of the journeys to name for inter-religious discussion and to sentence using violence in the identify of God.
The UAE ambassador to Washington, Yousef Al Otaiba, wrote in an op-ed in Politico mag on Sunday that the pontiff’s seek advice from despatched a sign of co-existence and admire in the face of the “menace of extremism” around the Middle East.