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Pope Francis to visit Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan

Published 09/04/2016

Pope Francis is planning two trips to the troubled Caucasus region
Pope Francis is planning two trips to the troubled Caucasus region

Pope Francis will make two trips this year to the often-volatile Caucasus region.

The Vatican said on Saturday the pontiff will visit Armenia on June 24-26. He will travel to Georgia and Azerbaijan from September 30 to October 2.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have blamed each other for ceasefire violations in separatist Nagorno-Karabakh. The recent fighting marked the worse violence since a separatist war ended in 1994.

Last month, the Vatican said a trip to Armenia was in the planning stages.

Francis last year labelled the Ottoman-era slaughter of Armenians genocide, sparking a diplomatic flap with Turkey. The Turkish government denies that any genocide of Armenians took place, insisting those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

The trips partially stem from Orthodox church leader invitations. Francis seeks steadily improved Catholic-Orthodox relations.

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From Belfast Telegraph