Pope Francis will meet the Myanmar’s army chief and some Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, both late additions to a tour of the two countries next week.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said on Wednesday that the pope would meet army head Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on November 30 in a church residence in Yangon.
Myanmar Cardinal Charles Maung Bo had talks with the pope in Rome on Saturday.
The meeting with the general was added to the schedule for the most politically sensitive trip since Francis was elected in 2013. Both the pope and the general agreed.
Burke said a small group of Rohingya refugees would be present at an inter-religious meeting for peace in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka on December 1.
The pope will separately meet the country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, in the capital Naypyitaw, on November 28 in an encounter that was already on the schedule.
Briefing reporters on the trip, Burke gave no details of how the Rohingya who will meet the pope would be chosen.
A source in Dhaka said the refugees would be able to tell the pope about their experiences.
Both events were not on the original schedule of the Nov. 26-Dec. 2 trip.
Bo, the cardinal from Myanmar, has advised the pope not to use the word Rohingya while in Myanmar because it is incendiary in the country where they are not recognised as an ethnic group.
According to Reuters, Burke said the pope took the advice seriously but added: “We will find out together during the trip ... it is not a forbidden word”.
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