Tickets now available online for historic Pope Francis’ mass in the UAE

Pope Francis is set to visit the UAE on Feb. 3 to 5. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 January 2019
0

Tickets now available online for historic Pope Francis’ mass in the UAE

  • The mass will take place at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi
  • Residents can register through the official website of the Papal visit

DUBAI: Attendees to the papal mass in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 5 can now register online, a Catholic church body in the region has announced.

Residents from the UAE, Oman and Yemen who would like to attend the mass can register through the official website of the Papal visit, according to the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia (AVOSA), a Catholic church jurisdiction covering the three Gulf nations.

The mass will take place at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on the last day of Pope Francis’ UAE trip. The stadium has a capacity of over 40,000 people.

A few reserved seats will also be allocated for residents from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain. A “very limited” number of tickets will be issued to non-GCC residents on a first-come, first-served basis.

“As this is a visit to the AVOSA, tickets are reserved primarily for the local faithful. However, we understand that this is a rare opportunity for people living nearby to see the pope,” AVOSA said on its website.

“Details on distribution policies are being worked out. We will have more information regarding this on our website very soon,” the statement added.

The February visit will be Pope Francis’ seventh trip to a predominantly Muslim nation, including Palestine, Jordan and Egypt, with the 82-year old pontiff employing those visits to call for inter-religious peace.

Crown Prince Mohammed had said in a tweet that the pope “is a symbol of peace, tolerance and the promotion of brotherhood. We look forward to a historic visit, through which we will seek dialogue on the peaceful coexistence among peoples.”


Iran must stop supporting militias for peace offer to be taken seriously: Expert 

Updated 24 min ago
0

Iran must stop supporting militias for peace offer to be taken seriously: Expert 

  • Iran has for long pursued a policy of outsourcing its meddling to external militias
  • Among these are the Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen

JEDDAH: Iran needs to dismantle its proxies and end its interventions in Arab affairs before seeking to normalize relations with its Gulf neighbors, a political expert told Arab News on Sunday.

“The Gulf countries have been calling for normal relations with their neighbors for years, but their calls have fallen on deaf ears on the Iranian side,” Hamdan Al-Shehri, a political analyst and international relations scholar, said.

Accusing Tehran of “playing games,” Al-Shehri described Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s suggestion that Iran wanted to improve relations with its Gulf neighbors as worthless “as long as it continues meddling in the affairs of other countries, and fails to halt its evil militias from sabotaging and destabilizing regional security.”

Iran has for long pursued a policy of outsourcing its meddling to external militias, which indirectly supports, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen. 

Zarif, who is on a two-day visit to Iraq, told a joint news conference in Baghdad with his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed Al-Hakim that Iran wants to build balanced relations with its Gulf Arab neighbors and had proposed signing a non-aggression pact with them.

However, Al-Shehri said that Tehran needs to address three key issues — its nuclear program; its terrorist militias, which have been spreading chaos in the Gulf region and beyond; and its ballistic missile program — before making any such proposals.

“The question is, would Iran be ready to give up all three files? If they want their neighbors to accept them and normalize relations with them, they have to be honest and stop playing games,” he said.

Al-Shehri described Zarif’s regional tour as an attempt to rally support and send a false message that Iran has friends and allies who would stand by them in their crisis with the US.

“Where were these countries when Iran’s terrorist proxies in Yemen, the Houthi militias, launched missiles and drones attacking the holiest Islamic site in Makkah and other Saudi facilities?” Al-Shehri asked.

Zarif said Iran will defend itself against any military or economic aggression, calling on European states to do more to preserve a nuclear agreement his country signed.

“We will defend (ourselves) against any war efforts, whether it be an economic war or a military one, and we will face these efforts with strength,” he said.

Strains have increased between Iran and the US following this month’s sabotage attack on oil tankers in the Gulf. Washington and other regional allies have concluded that Iran is most likely behind the attacks. 

Tehran has distanced itself from the bombings, but the US has sent an aircraft carrier and extra 1,500 troops to the Gulf, sparking concerns over the risk of conflict in the volatile region.