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Pope to visit Myanmar to push for peace

Pope Francis will push for peace during his visit to mainly-Buddhist Myanmar, a church official said Thursday, a trip that plunges the pontiff into the centre of a simmering religious conflict which has sparked an exodus of Muslim Rohingya.

Myanmar’s western Rakhine state has been torn apart by communal bloodshed, sending more than 520,000 Rohingya racing over to neighbouring Bangladesh since late August. The leader of the world’s Catholics will visit both nations on a highly charged trip in late November — although there are currently no plans to stop in strife-torn Rakhine or the refugee camps in Bangladesh.

“We don’t know yet what will be in his speech … but he is coming for the sake of the country and he will be talking about peace,” Father Mariano Soe Naing, a spokesman for the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Myanmar, told AFP. “There won’t be any interfaith meetings (in Myanmar) because of the lack of time,” he added. (AFP)

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