Pope Francis arrived in Egypt on Friday, kicking off a two-day trip designed to forge Muslim-Christian brotherhood and show solidarity with the country’s persecuted Coptic Christian minority.
President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi received the Pope around 2:30 p.m. (8:30 a.m. ET), at the Ittihadiya Presidential Palace in Cairo. The leaders stood shoulder to shoulder as the pontifical and Egyptian national anthems played.
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail greeted Francis on the tarmac at Cairo International Airport, Egyptian state TV shows.
Francis is due to join Pope Tawadros II, head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, for a peace conference among Muslim and Orthodox Christian leaders, then to meet Tawadros II at the patriarch’s residence.