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Egypt's Pope continues visit to UAE, giving thanks for Gulf support

Coptic Pope Tawadros opens altar in Dubai's Mar Mina Church as part of a visit seen as a gesture of thanks for UAE's support for Egypt following Mohamed Morsi's 2013 ouster

Ahram Online , Sunday 11 May 2014
Egypt's Coptic Pope Tawadros II, head of Coptic Orthodox church opened the altar in the Saint Mina Church

Egypt's Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, visited Sunday the United Arab Emirates' Mar Mina Church as part of his five-day visit to the Gulf state.

The visit by the Pope, which began Friday upon invitation from Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, the emir of Abu Dhabi and UAE president, is also a gesture of recognition for the Gulf state's support for Egypt in its current political transition.

"I've come to give thanks to the UAE, the ruling family and highnesses, the government and the people for the strong support they provide to Egypt during these days," Pope Tawadros said in a lecture he gave in Abu Dhabi.

It is his first visit to the Gulf state since he became head of the Coptic Church in November 2012.

The UAE was among Gulf states that backed the overthrow of Egyptian Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last summer and pledged billions of dollars in aid packages to Cairo in a bid to shore up its flagging economy.

On Sunday, Pope Tawadros inaugurated the altar in Mar Mina Church, located in the port town of Jebel Ali, and led the church service, state news agency MENA reported.

The Coptic Pope had thrown his weight behind Morsi's removal, whose rule was criticised as divisive.

Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, was toppled last July after millions took to the streets in protest against his troubled year in power.

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