Pope to meet Iraqi President and PM on national visit

The Vatican's logo for the visit

  VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis is due to make official visits to both the President and Prime Minister on his trip to Iraq from March 5-8, as well as visiting the Kurdistan region.

  In addition to leading a mass at the Chaldean Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Baghdad, and meeting with various Christian leaders around Iraq, the Vatican press office has also announced the pontiff’s meeting with the Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of the Iraqi Shia Muslims, a man who has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to ease conflict in the area. 

  The pope will also lead an inter-religious meeting at the Plain of Ur, and will travel to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. This is an area that has historically been the centre of much conflict, though in recent years has seen a much better relationship develop between Iraq and the Kurdish population, and currently has a autonomous democratic government.

  Before departure, Francis will lead a prayer of suffrage for the victims of the war at Hosh al-Bieaa in Mosul.