Pope due to visit Myanmar, Bangladesh, before Christmas: source

August 24, 2017 - 12:02 AM
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Pope Francis Aung San Suu Kyi
Pope Francis talks with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi during a private audience at the Vatican. REUTERS / Tony Gentile

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis will almost certainly visit Myanmar and Bangladesh, two countries caught up in a crisis over the Rohingya Muslim minority, before the end of the year, a senior Vatican source said on Wednesday.

The trip, which would be the first time any pope has visited Myanmar, is due to be officially announced before the end of August, added the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The trip is likely to take place between the end of November and the start of December but definitely before Christmas, the source added. The Vatican has so far officially said only that a trip to both countries is “under study”.

A Vatican team is visiting both countries to sort out details and report back to the pope, who will make the final decision.

Myanmar is facing international scrutiny over atrocities against its Rohingya community. In February, Francis issued a stinging criticism of their treatment, saying they had been tortured and killed simply because they wanted to live their culture and Muslim faith.