Pope says he must go to Iraq because people cannot be let down

Pope John Paul had to cancel a planned trip in 2000 after a breakdown in talks with the government of then leader Saddam Hussein

  
A poster of Pope Francis is seen ahead of his upcoming visit to Iraq, in Baghdad, Iraq March 3, 2021.

A poster of Pope Francis is seen ahead of his upcoming visit to Iraq, in Baghdad, Iraq March 3, 2021.

Reuters/Khalid al-Mousily
VATICAN CITY, March 3 (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Wednesday he is going to Iraq, where his predecessor John Paul was not allowed to go in 2000, because "the people cannot be let down for a second time."

Francis, who is do to leave on Friday, asked for prayers so that the visit "can take place in the best possible way and bring about the desired fruits".

He made no mention of security problems in Iraq, where earlier on Wednesday at least 10 rockets landed on an air base that hosts United States, coalition and Iraqi forces.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Toby Chopra) ((philip.pullella@thomsonreuters.com;))

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