Pope decries ‘armed energy’, Yemen war on UAE trip
ABU DHABI (Reuters) – Pope Francis denounced the “logic of armed power” in Yemen, Syria and different Middle East wars on Monday on a landmark seek advice from to the Arabian peninsula the place Islam emerged, telling Christians and Muslims that conflicts introduced not anything however distress and demise.
Francis, the primary pontiff to set foot on the peninsula, was once talking all through a trip to the United Arab Emirates, which is enjoying a number one position in Yemen’s warfare as a part of a Saudi-led army coalition.
“War cannot create anything but misery, weapons bring nothing but death,” he mentioned in a speech after assembly UAE leaders within the capital Abu Dhabi on Monday, the primary complete day of a trip he hopes will foster peace thru devout discussion.
“Its fateful consequences are before our eyes. I am thinking in particular of Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya,” he mentioned at an inter-religious assembly on the UAE Founder’s Memorial.
“Let us commit ourselves against the logic of armed power,” he mentioned in his first public cope with on the trip after assembly with Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar mosque who referred to as on Muslims within the Middle East to embody Christians.
The just about four-year-old war in Yemen, the poorest Arabian Peninsula country, has killed tens of 1000’s of other folks and left virtually 16 million other folks going through critical starvation. The warfare pits the Saudi-led coalition unswerving to ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in opposition to the Iran-aligned Houthi team.
The United Nations is making an attempt to put in force a delicate ceasefire deal within the nation’s primary Hodeidah port, a lifeline for tens of millions and the web page of one of the vital war’s fiercest battles. It hopes the deal will pave the best way for talks to finish the war.
Francis used his common Sunday cope with in Vatican City to induce both sides to put in force the deal and lend a hand ship assist.
A senior UAE legit welcomed his feedback on the peace deal: “Let us assure its implementation and make 2019 the year of peace in Yemen,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash wrote on Twitter past due on Sunday.
The Grand Imam, essentially the most senior Muslim determine participating within the seek advice from, referred to as on Muslims within the Middle East to “embrace” native Christian communities, describing them as a part of the country and now not a minority.
“You are citizens with full rights and responsibilities,” mentioned Sheikh Tayeb, whose Al-Azhar college represents one in all one of the crucial primary seats of studying of Sunni Islam. He also known as on Muslims within the West to combine of their host countries and recognize native rules.
Sheikh Tayeb and the pope signed a record of “human fraternity” which carried a message in opposition to devout extremism.
Earlier on Monday the Pope was once welcomed to the sprawling Presidential Palace for personal talks with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and different UAE leaders.
The seek advice from won some certain media consideration in neighboring Saudi Arabia, house to Islam’s holiest websites and the place church buildings are banned. The primary English day by day, Arab News, ran an image of the pope and Abu Dhabi’s crown prince calling it “the moment that made history on the Arabian Peninsula.”
It ran an editorial mentioning Muslim and Catholic officers announcing Saudi Arabia may just characteristic in a long run papal seek advice from.
Priests and diplomats describe the UAE as one of the crucial least restrictive environments within the Gulf for Christian worship, which is permitted in church compounds with particular licenses. But like different Gulf states it outlaws unsanctioned devout gatherings and non-Muslims should now not proselytize.
Vatican officers say they hope one of the crucial quick results of the seek advice from might be permission to construct extra church compounds within the UAE to minister to the Catholic neighborhood.
On Tuesday prior to returning to Rome, the pope will rejoice an outside mass for some 135,000 Catholics in an Abu Dhabi sports activities stadium, an match without a precedent within the peninsula.
The UAE hosts 9 Catholic church buildings and is house to about a million expatriate Catholics, many from the Philippines. Another a million Catholics are estimated to reside in different nations within the Arabian Peninsula.
Reporting via Philip Pullella and Sylvia Westall Additional reporting via Tuqa Khalid in Dubai and Stephen Kalin in Riyadh, Editing via Raissa Kasolowsky, William Maclean