UAE to send plane to fly Egypt Pope to Dubai

In an unprecedented move, President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed will send a private plane to Cairo on Thursday to carry Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II to the Gulf country

In an unprecedented move, President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed will send a private plane to Cairo on Thursday to carry Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II to the Gulf country

CAIRO – In an unprecedented move, President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed will send a private plane to Cairo on Thursday to carry Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II to the Gulf country, a Coptic Church official said Wednesday.

"It is the first time for an Arab country to send a private plane to carry the pope abroad," the official told Anadolu Agency.

"This is a sign of appreciation on the part of Sheikh Khalifa to Egypt and its religious leaders and his respect for Pope Tawadros and his international stature," he added.

Pope Tawadros is scheduled to visit the UAE on Friday at the invitation of the UAE President and Crown Prince.

The visit is the first by Tawadros to the Gulf since he took over the Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church in November 2012.

The UAE ambassador in Cairo met Tawadros two times, the last of which was in March when he visited the pope to offer condolences on the death of his mother.

Pope Tawadros II also called the UAE ambassador in January to inquire after the health of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed following surgery.

There are around half a million Christians in the UAE, according to the country's population census.

All seven churches in the UAE are located in Abu Dhabi.

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