Pope to visit Myanmar as anti-Rohingya hatred seethes

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YANGON: Pope Francis will push for peace during his visit to Myanmar, a church official said Thursday. 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 visit 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 Agence France-Presse. “There won’t be any interfaith meetings [in Myanmar]because of the lack of time,” he added. He will talk with de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace prize laureate who has sparked international dismay by her perceived lack of sympathy towards the Rohingya. After Myanmar the Pope will head to Bangladesh which has had to absorb more than half a million Rohingya refugees, putting a significant strain on the two countries’ ties.

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