Vatican City, Oct 10 (IANS/AKI) Pope Francis will next month visit Myanmar and Bangladesh on a six-day visit when he will meet their political and religious leaders and is likely to raise the issue of Rohingya Muslims, it was announced on Tuesday.
Francis will set off on November 26, his first stop being Myanmar’s former capital Yangon.
On November 28, the pontiff will travel to Myanmar’s modern capital Naypyidaw, where he will be received by President Htin Kyaw and meet the country’s civilian leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Aung San Suu Kyi has drawn international criticism for failing to stop or condemn violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, where over half a million minority Rohingya Muslims have fled a deadly Army crackdown since August 25.
Francis, who has decried the persecution of the Rohingya, is expected to raise their plight during his visit to Myanmar.
On November 29, Francis will celebrate mass at the Kyaikkasan Ground stadium in Yangon before holding meetings with Buddhist monks and later with the country’s bishops at St Mary’s cathedral.
On November 30, Francis will fly to Bangladesh where he will meet President Abdul Hamid and give an address after visiting the National Martyr’s Memorial monument honouring those killed in the country’s 1971 war of independence.
On December 1, Francis will celebrate an open-air mass in Dhaka’s Suhrawardy Udyan Park before holding meetings with Bangladeshi Premier Sheikh Hasina, Bangladeshi bishops and other faith leaders.
On December 2, Francis will wrap up his trip with a visit to a home run by the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa and address priests, religious seminarians and novices.