President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday welcomed President of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, a representative of Pope Francis of the Vatican, to Egypt, with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry present.
Presidency Spokesperson Bassam Rady stated that Sisi extended his greetings to Pope Francis and referred to the esteem and respect that the Egyptian people have for him.
Sisi hailed the recent positive developments in bilateral relations between Egypt and the Vatican after the historic visit of Pope Francis to Egypt in 2017, and the return of dialogue between Al-Azhar and the Vatican.
The president stressed the current approach of the Egyptian government in establishing the values of coexistence and freedom of worship, referring to the recent historic signing of the Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb and Pope Francis on a pledge of fraternity which called for peace.
Sandri shared his appreciation to the leadership and people of Egypt and conveyed greetings of Pope Francis to Sisi, expressing keenness to enhance cooperation with Egypt and strengthen the culture of dialogue, coexistence, and peace among religions.
The two officials discussed current challenges facing the world in light of the spread of extremism, and noted the concentrated efforts required to promote the values of coexistence and tolerance among all people and strengthen bridges of understanding and fraternity.
Sisi said that Egypt and the Vatican have a wide range of cooperation in consolidating the principles of moderation and the renunciation of violence, extremist ideology and terrorism, pointing out that Egypt continues to affirm the principle of citizenship and freedom of belief amongst all citizens.
Sandri in turn praised steps taken by Egypt, such as the opening of the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ, alongside the Fattah al-Alim mosque in the new administrative capital, which deliver a message of love and peace and reflect the political will spread the virtues of citizenship, tolerance and coexistence among all Egyptians.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm