Iraqi foreign minister to meet Italian officials, Pope

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein (Getty Images)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein headed Italy on Saturday for talks with officials and Pope Francis, said the ministry of foreign affairs.

The minister will hold a round of “important meetings and dialogues” with Italian officials in Rome and in the Vatican state, spokesman of the Iraqi foreign ministry Ahmed al-Sahaf said.

“The foreign minister will meet the Pope of the Vatican on Monday, and discuss with him the outcomes of his recent visit to Iraq,” Sahaf added.

The pope paid a four-day historic visit to Iraq in March, which aimed to encourage its dwindling Christians and deepen dialogue with its Muslims. He also hailed Iraq as a “cradle of civilization” on his first day of the trip.

Iraqis welcomed the pope and said it was a chance for the world to see their perpetually crisis-hit nation in a new light.

Iraq suffers from chronic mismanagement and corruption, and a steady level of violence often linked to the region’s U.S.-Iran rivalry 18 years after the United States invaded.

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