Rumours of papal visit spark excitement in Iraq – Summary

rumours_of_papal_0405091.jpg  Baghdad – A report published in a leading Baghdad daily that Pope Benedict XVI may visit Iraq in mid-May as part of his tour of the Middle East sparked instant excitement among Iraq’s Christians on Monday. Baghdad’s al-Sabbah newspaper quoted an unnamed lawmaker as saying that the Vatican was considering a visit to Baghdad on invitation from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.The pope’s visit “would let him see situation on the ground, particularly for the (Iraqi) Christian community,” al-Sabbah quoted the lawmaker as saying.

The pope is scheduled to visit only Jordan, Israel and the West Bank beginning Friday, but al-Sabbah’s report electrified Iraqi Christians nonetheless, especially given the newspaper’s record of predicting unscheduled visits to Iraq.

Most recently, in March, al-Sabbah reported that US President Barack Obama would visit Baghdad at the beginning of April, weeks before the US president arrived on an unannounced visit.

“We highly appreciate His Holiness the Pope’s desire to visit Iraq. The visit will be an opportunity to improve the situation in the country,” Yonadam Yousef Kanna, a Christian member of the Iraqi parliament, told the German Press Agency

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