Pope Francis has arrived in Myanmar's largest city Yangon, in a visit that is due to be followed by his travelling to neighboring Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled since the beginning of the Myanmar military's clampdown earlier this year.
"They say it's too hot [in Myanmar]. I'm sorry, but let's hope it will at least be fruitful," Reuters quoted Pope Francis as saying in an apparent reference to his visit this Southeast Asian country.
A private meeting with army chief Min Aung Hlaing and separate talks with civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi are most likely to become the highlights of Pope Francis's Myanmar visit.
As I prepare to visit Myanmar and Bangladesh, I wish to send a message of greeting and friendship to everyone. I can't wait to meet you!— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) 25 ноября 2017 г.
He is expected to meet a group of Rohingya refugees in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, on the second leg of his trip.
Attacks by Muslim insurgents of Rohingya origin on police posts in late August provoked a harsh response from Myanmar's government.
The military launched an operation in the villages of Rakhine State, which forced more than 600,000 Rohingyas to flee the violence in the country to bordering Bangladesh, prompting international condemnation.