Europe 1 with AFP / Photo credit: VATICAN MEDIA / CPP / HANS LUCAS / HANS LUCAS VIA AFP 21:05 p.m., November 28, 2023Pope Francis has cancelled his planned trip to Dubai for the United Nations climate summit, COP28, which opens this Thursday. The 86-year-old pontiff has "flu-like symptoms." His spokesman said Francis still wanted to participate in the talks.
On the advice of his doctors, Pope Francis has canceled his planned trip to Dubai for the United Nations climate summit, COP28, which opens Thursday, the Vatican announced Tuesday. The 86-year-old pope, who has made environmental protection a cornerstone of his 1995-year pontificate, planned to become the first pontiff to attend the UN summit since the process began in <>.
"Although the general state of the Holy Father's health has improved, regarding his flu-like symptoms and inflammation of the respiratory tract, doctors have asked the pope not to make the trip planned in the coming days to Dubai," Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement. "Pope Francis has accepted with great regret the doctors' request and the trip is therefore cancelled," the spokesman added.
Risks of "pulmonary complications"
He assured that the pope still wants to participate in the discussions in Dubai and that the modalities of this participation will soon be defined. Earlier in the day, at a Vatican briefing on the trip, Bruni told reporters that the pope would attend. Francis, who has suffered from a series of health problems in recent years, had canceled his planned activities on Saturday because of what the Vatican called "mild flu-like symptoms."
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A CT scan ruled out "the risk of pulmonary complications". The pope also said the traditional Angelus prayer on Sunday from his residence and not in St. Peter's Square. In Dubai, Francis was expected to castigate countries for their lack of action on climate change and seek to persuade them to drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. It was also expected to play a role in rebuilding trust between nations vulnerable to climate change and wealthy, consumerist polluters.
As the head of 1.3 billion Catholics, more than half of whom live in developing countries, the pope has long insisted on the link between climate change and poverty, while the world's poorest are paying the highest price for global warming.