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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis arrives in Kazakhstan to “fraternal” reception


Pope Francis boarded the papal plane with some 70 journalists to begin the 38th international trip of his pontificate, to Kazakhstan. 

The Pope kept his remarks to those on board brief.

POPE FRANCIS
Good morning. Thank you so much for your presence, for your help. I wish you all a good trip, and then, we will speak on the return. Thank you, have a good day.

As he typically does on his trips, the Pope then greeted the journalists onboard individually. Asked about a potential meeting with Chinese Preident Xi Jinping who will be in Nur-Sultan while he is there, Pope Francis said he did not have any news on that, but said he is already ready to travel to China.

Several journalists also offered him gifts, such as this stole from a Catholic community in Mozambique where a religious sister was recently murdered. (2:00)

Upon entering Kazakh airspace, the Pope's plane was escorted to Nur-Sultan with F16 military fighter jets. 

After the six and a half hour flight from Rome, the Pope landed in Kazakhstan and entered in the airport's Presidential VIP Terminal using a wheelchair to meet with Kazakhstan's president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. 

He thanked the Pope for coming to Kazakhstan to participate in the seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. 

KASSYM-JOMART TOKAYEV
President of Kazakhstan
It's a huge event, and as far as Kazakhstan is concerned it is a big honor for us.

POPE FRANCIS
I like this reception, this way of being so courteous, so fraternal, thank you so much.

The Pope then met members of Kazakhstan's government, before introducing President Tokayev to members of the Vatican's diplomatic corps. 

JM