Pope expresses hope for Iraqi resurgence

Pope Francis (R) during the private audience with Fuad Hussein Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq at the Vatican. (AFP)

JEDDAH (RAHNUMA) Pope Francis has said that he hopes the Iraqi people will grow “in solidarity and in the ability to acknowledge themselves as responsible for the vulnerabilities of others.”

The Pontiff expressed his “heartfelt wishes” to Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Fuad Hussein during a 30-minute meeting, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told a press conference attended by Arab News.

Bruni said that the Pope “recalled with gratitude the welcome he received during his recent journey to Iraq,” over March 5 to 8, the first papal visit to the Middle Eastern nation. He defined the “cheerful and affectionate welcome” received by the Iraqi people and institutions as “a sign of hope after years of war and terrorism and during a severe pandemic.”

Hussein, a Shiite Muslim with Kurdish origin, has held his ministerial post since June 6, 2020.

Before personally welcoming the Pontiff on his arrival in Baghdad, he had said that Iraqis were eager to accept the “message of peace and tolerance” that Pope Francis would bring to the country. He defined the visit as a historic meeting between “the minaret and the bells.”

Hussein is expected to meet with top officials of the Italian government over the coming days.

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