The Vatican will decide on the possibility of Pope Francis visiting Egypt soon but no dates or schedule have yet been set, a spokesman for the Pope told reporters on Saturday following Italian reports that’s the trip would take place in May.
“A trip by the Holy Father to Egypt is under study but neither dates nor a programme have been finalised,” spokesman, Greg Burke, said in a statement.
According to Italy’s national broadcaster RAI, Francis will be in Cairo on 20-21 May with his programme including a visit to Al-Azhar University and mosque.
This would follow the landmark meeting that took place in the same month last year when the pope hosted the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, at the Vatican.
The union between the two marked an improvement in relations following a series of spats under Francis’ predecessor Benedict XVI.
The Argentine pope has made interfaith dialogue and reconciliation the centre of his pontificate and continued this theme by overseeing an improvement in relations with the Orthodox and Protestant wing of Christianity.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued an invitation to the Pope when he met him at the Vatican in 2014.
Security concerns in Egypt would explain the delay in the 80-year-old’s trip to Egypt, however the conflict in the capital of the Central African Republic, Bangui, did not stop his visit in November 2015.