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Saturday 30 August 2014

Pope Francis begins his trip to the Middle East

Published 24/05/2014 | 11:51

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Pope Francis boards a plane at Fiumicino airport in Rome May 24, 2014. With a Rabbi and a Muslim leader in tow, Pope Francis makes his first visit to the Middle East on Saturday, a delicate mission to push his vision of inter-religious dialogue as a vehicle for peace in the region. He will visit Jordan, the Palestinian Territories and Israel during his May 24-26 trip. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (ITALY - Tags: RELIGION)
Pope Francis boards a plane at Fiumicino airport in Rome May 24, 2014. With a Rabbi and a Muslim leader in tow, Pope Francis makes his first visit to the Middle East on Saturday, a delicate mission to push his vision of inter-religious dialogue as a vehicle for peace in the region. He will visit Jordan, the Palestinian Territories and Israel during his May 24-26 trip. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (ITALY - Tags: RELIGION)
Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Pietro Parolin looks on during the arrival of Pope Francis (not pictured) at Fiumicino airport in Rome May 24, 2014. With a Rabbi and a Muslim leader in tow, Pope Francis makes his first visit to the Middle East on Saturday, a delicate mission to push his vision of inter-religious dialogue as a vehicle for peace in the region. He will visit Jordan, the Palestinian Territories and Israel during his May 24-26 trip. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (ITALY - Tags: RELIGION)
Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Pietro Parolin looks on during the arrival of Pope Francis (not pictured) at Fiumicino airport in Rome May 24, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis waves as he boards a plane at Fiumicino airport in Rome May 24, 2014. With a Rabbi and a Muslim leader in tow, Pope Francis makes his first visit to the Middle East on Saturday, a delicate mission to push his vision of inter-religious dialogue as a vehicle for peace in the region. He will visit Jordan, the Palestinian Territories and Israel during his May 24-26 trip. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (ITALY - Tags: RELIGION)
Pope Francis waves as he boards a plane at Fiumicino airport in Rome May 24, 2014. With a Rabbi and a Muslim leader in tow, Pope Francis makes his first visit to the Middle East on Saturday, a delicate mission to push his vision of inter-religious dialogue as a vehicle for peace in the region. He will visit Jordan, the Palestinian Territories and Israel during his May 24-26 trip. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (ITALY - Tags: RELIGION)

Pope Francis has arrived in Jordan, kicking off his three-day trip to the Middle East.

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The pope's flight from Rome landed this afternoon at Amman's Queen Alia International Airport.

Pope Francis will meet King Abdullah II and Queen Rania at the royal palace first.

Then he will celebrate mass in Amman's International Stadium. The Vatican expects some 25,000 people to attend, many of them Palestinian, Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Later, he will meet one-on-one with refugees and disabled children at a church in Bethany beyond the Jordan, which many believe is the traditional site of Jesus' baptism.

He will travel tomorrow from Jordan to the West Bank town of Bethlehem, where the pope will meet President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders.

Press Association

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