Pope Francis has planned an official visit to Egypt in April to meet with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and visit Cairo’s Al Azhar mosque to meet with Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb, officials said Saturday.
The pope will also meet Coptic Pope Tawadros II and 5visit the Egyptian Roman Catholic Church, officials said. The trip, on April 28 and 29, will be the pope’s 18th pastoral visit outside of Italy.
“Egypt welcomes its valued guest, and affirms that it is looking forward to this visit as a message of peace, tolerance and dialogue between all mankind from all religions,” Sisi said.
The meeting comes after years of tension that developed under Pope Benedict XVI.
Shortly after the announcement, the pope tweeted, “I invite you not to build walls but bridges, to conquer evil with good, offence with forgiveness, to live in peace with everyone.”