Jordan hopes papal visit would push for regional peace

Francis will visit Jordan on Saturday for a few hours at the start of his first Middle East trip

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Jordan expressed hope Wednesday that Pope Francis’s visit to the Holy Land would help the cause of regional stability, including the advancement of the stalled Middle East peace talks.

“The pope’s May 24-26 visit carries a lot of meanings of peace,” government spokesman Mohammad Momamni told a news conference.

“We hope the visit will push for achieving peace and stability in the region, including the Israeli-Palestinian peace process,” said Momamni, who is also information minister.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur told a group of journalists that “the pope’s visit will show Jordan’s civilized image and will show that the kingdom is an oasis of peace and security in a turbulent region with a sea of blood, wars and repression.”

Francis will visit Jordan on Saturday for a few hours at the start of his first Middle East trip.

He will meet King Abdullah II, celebrate mass in a stadium and meet Syrian refugees -- giving him a chance to speak out against the war there as well as the forced migration of Christians from the Middle East.

Jordan is home to around 600,000 Syrian refugees.

The kingdom will issue special stamps marking Francis’s visit as well as the 50th anniversary of a visit of Pope Paul VI to the country in 1964.

Following his Jordan stop, the pope will travel to Bethlehem, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, wrapping up the visit on Monday with a mass in the place where Christians believe Jesus held the last supper with his disciples.

Francis will meet with all the main Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian leaders, but only briefly.

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