Kurdistan region completes preparations to receive Pope Francis

Kurdistan region completes preparations to receive Pope Francis

Shafaq News / The Christian Affairs Directorate of the Ministry of Endowments in Kurdistan Region announced that it had completed its preparations to receive Pope Francis, who is scheduled to arrive in Baghdad next Friday.

The Director-General of the directorate, Khaled Albert, told Shafaq News agency, "The Pope will meet with Christian clerics, senior officials in the regional government, political parties, clerics from other components and representatives of civil society organizations."

Earlier today, a large security force is deployed in Dhi Qar today, Wednesday, to secure Pope Francis's visit to the governorate.

A source told Shafaq News Agency, "a 300 troops force from the Presidential regiment arrived in Dhi Qar to secure the field in preparation for the Pope's visit," indicating, "this force is specialized in such important missions."

Furthermore, the Pope has insisted that his historic trip to Iraq, which is due to take place this week, will go ahead despite the attack on US forces in the country today. 

The 84-year-old pontiff said he could not disappoint people 'who have suffered so much by calling off the visit, the first-ever by a pope to Iraq, at the last minute.

He did not address the security problems in Iraq, where, on Wednesday, at least ten rockets landed on an airbase hosting US and Iraqi forces, as well as another belonging to the Global coalition.

Pope Francis will pay a historic visit to Iraq during the next few days. His first stop will be Baghdad, before moving to Najaf to meet the leading spiritual leader of Iraqi Shia Muslims, Ali al-Sistani, then heading to the ancient city of Ur in Dhi Qar where the Prophet Ibrahim was born, to conclude his visit in Nineveh and the Kurdistan Region.

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