Pope Francis cancels COP28 visit due to illness

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Pope Francis has cancelled his planned trip to COP28 because of the effects of influenza and lung inflammation, the Vatican said on Tuesday, adding to concerns about his health.

The pope, who is 86, was due to begin a three-day visit to Dubai on Friday and the Vatican had said earlier on Tuesday that he was going ahead with the trip.

"Although the Holy Father's general clinical condition has improved with regard to the flu and inflammation of the respiratory tract, doctors have asked the pope not to make the trip planned for the coming days to Dubai," the Vatican said.

The pope had agreed not to travel "with great regret", it added, saying that it would look into ways that the leader of the world's Roman Catholics could contribute to the discussions remotely.

In a briefing earlier on Tuesday, Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni had said Francis would deliver one of the keynote speeches in Dubai on Saturday and have bilateral meetings the same day with about 30 people, including around 20 heads of state.

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