Foreign Minister Nabil el-Arabi said on Thursday 19/05/2011 Egypt will remain a homeland for all religions without any discrimination between a Muslim and a Christian.
In statements, Arabi said his visit on Thursday to Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Diocese aimed at inquiring after the pope’s health and studying some national files.
He hailed the role of the church in solving some domestic problems, adding he discussed with the pope the Nile water issue and the outcome of the talks he had with the Vatican Pope on Wednesday.
Arabi said he discussed with Pope Shenouda cooperation between Egypt’s Coptic Church and the Ethiopian church and the role of the Egyptian church in the Nile water issue.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Menha Bakhoum said the minister reviewed with the Pope the outcome of a recent visit to Ethiopia by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf leading a delegation.
She said Arabi posted the Pope on the outcome of his visit to the Vatican and his meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Shenouda held talks with Arabi on the Nile water issue as well as holding dialogue among different religions, a source at the papal office told MENA.
The Pope congratulated Arabi for his election as the new Arab League chief, wishing him success in his great mission and hoping that inter-Arab relations would flourish during his term.
Arabi lauded contacts made by the Church with its Ethiopian counterpart to settle the Nile water problem, saying Egypt is attaching a great importance to this vital file.
Talks also tackled efforts by Al Azhar and the Coptic Orthodox Church to stand against sectarian problems harming Egypt’s reputation and the tourism industry, the source said.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Menha Bakhoum and a number of bishops attended the talks.