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Mon 4 Feb 2019 04:36 PM

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UAE leaders, Pope Francis discuss 'road map for harmony'

UAE royals hold historic meeting at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi with Pope Francis

UAE leaders, Pope Francis discuss 'road map for harmony'
Pope Francis said he was happy to visit the UAE, pointing out that his visit represented a new stage in the history of human fraternity. (WAM)

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, met on Monday to discuss ways to promote tolerance, dialogue and coexistence across the world.

During the meeting held at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, the two sides reviewed prospects for cooperation and joint efforts to consolidate fraternity and coexistence and promote dialogue so as to ensure security, stability and peace worldwide, state news agency WAM reported.

Their Highnesses said that the Papal visit and related events and seminars helped to establish that all religions and cultures are ultimately one and celebrate the human spirit, it added.

They said the meeting was also an important opportunity to exchange views and strengthen dialogue and tolerance.

The leaders stressed that since the UAE was established by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, it had been committed to support efforts leading to security, peace and stability.

The UAE believes that peace and stability help people across the world to form the basis upon which to establish development and achieve prosperity, they said.

Pope Francis said he was happy to visit the UAE, pointing out that his visit represented a new stage in the history of human fraternity, marked by close ties between different religions.

He also remarked upon the role of the late Sheikh Zayed in helping to make the UAE a country which respects other civilisations, cultures and religions.

At the end of their meeting, the two sides called for strengthening cooperation between various regional and international organisations to formulate initiatives that promote effective and constructive dialogue among different cultures.

The two sides said the world urgently needed to promote the spirit of fraternity and coexistence to consolidate security, peace and stability, as well as to confront attempts to distort religion and incite religious hatred.

They expressed their hope that the message of fraternity launched from the UAE would help establish a road map for dialogue, fraternity, harmony and coexistence between different nations, peoples and religions.

Pope Francis wrote a short message in the visitors' book at the Presidential Palace, expressing his happiness at visiting the UAE and receiving such a warm welcome.

He praised the vital role played by the UAE in establishing a culture of dialogue, tolerance, peaceful coexistence and brotherhood, as well as supporting the foundations of development, security and stability for the people across the world.

Their Highnesses presented the Pope with a leather box containing a document issued on June 22 1963 by the late Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the then Ruler of Abu Dhabi, granting a plot of land on the western side of Abu Dhabi to the Catholic Church. The commemorative gift also contained a historical picture of Sheikh Shakhbut with Bishop Luigi Magliacani da Castel del Piano, then the Catholic Vicar Apostolic of Arabia.

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