Pope Francis set for three-day visit to Iraq

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  • Al Jazeera English published this video item, entitled “Pope Francis set for three-day visit to Iraq” – below is their description.

    Pope Francis is going to Iraq for a three-day visit, his first trip outside Italy since the pandemic began.

    The pope will be welcomed by the prime minister when he arrives in Baghdad on Friday. He will then meet President Barham Salih, as well as religious leaders, and representatives of civil society at the presidential palace.

    The next day, Francis will fly to the city of Najaf and meet Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Later, he will celebrate mass in Baghdad.

    On Sunday, Pope Francis will travel to Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, where he will meet with religious and civil leaders of the autonomous region.

    Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid reports from the capital on security preparations ahead of his visit.

    Al Jazeera English YouTube Channel

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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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    The capital, Rome, is home to the Vatican as well as landmark art and ancient ruins. Other major cities include Florence, with Renaissance masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s “David” and Brunelleschi’s Duomo; Venice, the city of canals; and Milan, Italy’s fashion capital.

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