Egyptians’ strength comes from their national unity, Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II told French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo's Abbasiya district.
In a televised press conference at the Cathedral, Pope Tawadros II told Macron that stability and peace will only be achieved through dialogue, pointing out that there is a continuous dialogue to preserve national unity through a number of Islamic and Coptic institutions in the country.
The pope said that the West represents the “mind of the world,” while the east represents its heart, stressing the necessity of dialogue “between heart and mind.”
“The west should understand the mindset of the east,” he said.
The pope explained that Egyptians live with the foundations of national unity, adding that “no one can differentiate between an Egyptian Copt and his Muslim brother when walking the streets of Cairo.”
The French president expressed his appreciation and respect for the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt, saying that the Copts in Egypt and the region represent peace.
Macron added that President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is courageously leading a cultural and intellectual fight.
The French president and the pope agreed on the importance of education, stressing that France is keen on supporting Egypt in this regard.
Following their talks, Macron, the French first lady, and Pope Tawadros II toured the Cathedral, which has been the Coptic Orthodox Church’s papal headquarters since late Pope Shenouda III decided to reside there in 1971.
The French president is also set to meet with the head of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, and a number of Muslim scholars.
This is Macron’s first visit to Egypt as head of state. Macron has visited Aswan, held talks with El-Sisi, and seen his country ink MoUs with Egypt in a number of fields over the course of his three-day visit.