Historic first: Iraq prepares for papal visit

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  • FRANCE 24 English published this video item, entitled “Historic first: Iraq prepares for papal visit” – below is their description.

    In defiance of both the Covid-19 pandemic and security concerns, #PopeFrancis has confirmed that the first ever papal visit to #Iraq is going ahead. The three-day trip, starting on March 5, will see the pope meet ancient Christian communities persecuted during the Islamic State group’s reign of terror. He’ll also be taking part in an #interfaith service in the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur. We take a closer look.

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  • In This Story: Iraq

    Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia. The capital and largest city is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians, Yazidis, Shabakis, Armenians, Mandaeans, Circassians, Sabians and Kawliya. Around 99% of the country’s 38 million citizens are Muslims, with small minorities of Christians, Yarsans, Yezidis and Mandeans also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.

    Iraq has a coastline measuring 58 km (36 miles) on the northern Persian Gulf and encompasses the Mesopotamian Alluvial Plain, the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range and the eastern part of the Syrian Desert. Two major rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, run south through Iraq and into the Shatt al-Arab near the Persian Gulf. These rivers provide Iraq with significant amounts of fertile land. The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, historically known as Mesopotamia, is often referred to as the cradle of civilisation.

    Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of 19 governorates, four of which make up the autonomous Kurdistan Region. Disputes over the sovereignty of Kurdistan Region continue.

    Iraq is a founding member of the UN as well as of the Arab League, OIC, Non-Aligned Movement and the IMF.

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