Pope Francis exchanges gifts with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah ُEl-Sisi during a private audience at the Vatican November 24, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
Pope Francis said in an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit on Thursday that "a visit to Egypt is in his plans for 2017," the Egyptian state news agency MENA reported.
The Roman Catholic pontiff received an invitation to visit Egypt from President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi when they met at the Vatican in 2014.
The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros, also visited the Vatican in 2013 and met with Pope Francis.
Last month, Sunni Islamic institution Al-Azhar and representatives of the Vatican agreed to work together to combat terrorism and extremism during a two-day seminar on the topic in Cairo.
The gathering came up with a number of recommendations, including fostering dialogue between the two institutions and tackling causes of extremism and violence which include poverty, illiteracy and misinterpretation of religious discourse.
Relations between Al-Azhar and the Vatican have seen growing cooperation since Pope Francis met with the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb, in May 2016 at the Vatican papal headquarters.
The last papal visit to Egypt was by the late Pope John Paul II in February 2000 where he met with late Pope Shenouda of the Coptic Orthodox Church and with then-president Hosni Mubarak.