Europe

Egypt says Pope Francis to visit in April

Pope Francis walks toward a confessional box during a penitential liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, March 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, Pool)

Pope Francis walks toward a confessional box during a penitential liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, March 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

Egypt says Pope Francis will pay an official visit to the majority Muslim nation during the final week of April.

Presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef said on Saturday the Pope's visit will be in response to an invitation extended by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who met the Pope when he visited the Vatican in late 2014.

Youssef says Francis will meet el-Sissi, as well as Egypt's top Muslim cleric, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, and Pope Tawadros II, the spiritual leader of Egypt's Coptic Christians.

He says Egypt hopes the visit will cement the "spirit of tolerance and dialogue" between followers of different faiths and further isolate extremism and terrorism.