Pope Francis has canceled his travel to the United Nations climate meeting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, due to health concerns, according to Vatican News.
A statement released on Tuesday evening by the Holy See Press Office said, “Even though the Holy Father’s general health situation has improved in relation to the flu and respiratory tract inflammation he has been suffering from, his doctors have asked the Pope not to undertake his scheduled visit to Dubai in the coming days, on the occasion of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
The 86-year-old Pope was supposed to leave on Friday, December 1 to address the summit of the Parties (COP28) at Expo City, Dubai on Saturday; his presence would have made him the first pontiff to address a UN climate summit. In a statement from the Vatican, the pope said he would not be leaving “with great regret.” The statement went on to say that it will investigate how the head of the Roman Catholic Church worldwide may participate in the climate talks virtually.
The pope was scheduled to open a religious tent on the event’s periphery on Sunday. Some significant events that were planned for these days have been rescheduled to allow the Pope to recuperate more easily, according to Vatican News. Following the cancellation of his audiences due to influenza and respiratory tract irritation, Francis’s health was improving, according to Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni.