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The pontiff has already scheduled a visit to Slovakia September 12-15 after a brief stop in Hungary to celebrate a mass in the capital Budapest. ― Reuters pic
The pontiff has already scheduled a visit to Slovakia September 12-15 after a brief stop in Hungary to celebrate a mass in the capital Budapest. ― Reuters pic

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VATICAN CITY, Sept 1 — Pope Francis announced today he plans to visit Greece, Cyprus and Malta, in an interview on Spanish radio.

The pontiff has already scheduled a visit to Slovakia September 12-15 after a brief stop in Hungary to celebrate a mass in the capital Budapest.

Asked by Cope radio whether he may travel to Spain to coincide with the Holy Year in the northwestern city of Santiago de Compostela, the pontiff said he could not rule it out.

“But my choice so far of travel to Europe is the small countries. First it was Albania and then all the countries that were small,” he said.

“Now Slovakia is on the programme, then Cyprus, Greece and Malta. I wanted to take that option: first to the smaller countries…

“And if I go to Santiago, I go to Santiago but not to Spain, let’s be clear,” ruling out an official trip to the country.

The official programme for his trip to Hungary includes a meeting with President Janos Ader and Prime Minister Viktor Orban on his arrival.

Asked what he would like to say to Orban, whose anti-migration views contrast with his own, Francis appeared to avoid the question.

“I don’t know if I am going to meet him. I know that authorities will come to greet me…

“One of my ways is not to go around with a script: when I am in front of a person, I look him in the eyes and let things come out.

“It doesn’t even occur to me to think about what I’m going to say if I’m with him, those potential future situations that don’t help me.” — AFP

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