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Pope calls for day of prayer for Lebanon

(From L)Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, Pope Francis and a Lebanese priest holding Lebanon's flag pray for Lebanon during the Pope's limited public audience at the San Damaso courtyard in The Vatican on 2 September 2020 during the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. [VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images]
(From L)Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, Pope Francis and a Lebanese priest holding Lebanon's flag pray for Lebanon during the Pope's limited public audience at the San Damaso courtyard in The Vatican on 2 September 2020 during the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. [VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images]

The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, yesterday called for a "day of prayer and fasting on Friday for Lebanon."

"One month after the tragedy that struck the city of Beirut, my thoughts turn once again to Lebanon and its people, so sorely tried," the Pope said in a speech, stressing that Lebanon could not be "abandoned in its solitude".

Holding the Lebanese flag, the Pope described Lebanon as a "country of hope".

Francis is due to visit Beirut on Friday to meet with Lebanese leaders and discuss ways to support them following the recent port explosion which killed nearly 200 and injured over 5,000.

Lebanon has been experiencing the worst economic crisis in its history, triggering large-scale anti-government protests. The situation was exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdowns. Nearly half the country's six million population are living below the poverty line. Economists warn that the scale of the catastrophe may be worse than the 15-year civil war, which raged from 1975 to 1990.

READ: France's Macron says no money without reforms in Lebanon

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Europe & RussiaLebanonMiddle EastNewsVatican City
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