AFP
1 minute read
8 Mar 2021
2:51 pm

Pope returns to Rome after historic Iraq trip

AFP

The 84-year-old's packed three-day visit passed off without a hitch despite concerns about security and the coronavirus pandemic.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein holds a press conference at the Babylon Hotel in the capital Baghdad, on March 4, 2021, on the eve of the first papal visit to Iraq. - Pope Francis begins a historic 4-day trip to war-scarred Iraq on March 5, defying security concerns and the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Sabah ARAR / AFP) / “The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by Sabah ARAR has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [March 4] instead of [February 4]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require.”

Pope Francis returned to Rome on Monday following his trip to Iraq, the first ever by a pontiff, according to an AFP reporter on board his plane.

The 84-year-old’s packed three-day visit passed off without a hitch despite concerns about security and the coronavirus pandemic.

“Iraq will always remain with me, in my heart,” the pope said as he concluded his largest Mass and final public event in Iraq on Sunday in Arbil, the capital of the northern Kurdistan region.

He later met the father of Alan Kurdi, the drowned Syrian Kurdish toddler who became a symbol of the plight of migrants.

It capped off a trip in which Francis covered more than 1,400 kilometres (900 miles) inside the conflict-ravaged country.

He brought encouragement to Iraq’s diminished Christian community and extended a hand to Shiite Muslims by meeting top cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

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