Pope Francis arrived in Kazakhstan
Pope Francis arrived in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, September 13, after a 5:50 a.m. flight. In this Central Asian country, seen as a point of contact between the European and Asian continents, on the borders of Russia and China, Francis must participate in an interreligious congress organized by the authorities.
During the flight that took him from Rome to Nursultan, the Kazakh capital, the pope said that he had » no information « on a possible meeting with the Chinese president, also present in Kazakhstan on September 14.
Very marked physically
“Of that I know nothing. I have no information”, said Pope Francis. But, as he had already done on several occasions, he made it clear that he stood ready to visit Beijing if invited. “I am always ready to go to China”, he insisted. Coming to greet the journalists one by one at the back of the plane, François appeared very marked physically, bent over, leaning on his cane adorned with a crucifix.
The Chinese president is due to visit the Kazakh capital to sign trade agreements with the country’s government. A first visit abroad since the start of the pandemic which fueled rumors of a hypothetical meeting between the two men. Especially since Xi Jinping is due to go to Uzbekistan on October 15 to participate in a summit where several presidents of the region will be present, including the Russian Vladimir Putin.
Pope Francis’ plane has just landed in Noursultan, the capital of Kazakhstan. He was met by fighter planes, which accompanied him at the end of the flight. This is the start of a three-day visit pic.twitter.com/chcxkiUbYW
— LB2S (@LB2S) September 13, 2022
The Holy See and China are currently negotiating the renewal of the agreement on the appointment of bishops, first signed in 2018, renewed in 2020 and expiring in October.
After having met the civil authorities, a few hours after his arrival, Francis must take part, on Wednesday, September 14, in the opening of the VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, in the presence of several officials. He could launch an appeal for peace between Russia and Ukraine.