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Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, will head the Vatican delegation to the United Nations climate conference, COP28, in Dubai on December 2, 2023, announced the Holy See Press Office Director, Matteo Bruni, on December 1. He will be replacing Pope Francis, who was supposed to travel to the United Arab Emirates to attend the conference, but had to cancel the trip due to the bronchial infection that he is battling.
Speaking at an event at the Vatican on December 30, the Italian Cardinal told a group of journalists, including I.MEDIA, that the speech he would give on Saturday would contain all the elements that Pope Francis had planned to bring to light in his address. Cardinal Parolin explained that the text had only been slightly edited, for example to remove the first person singular that the Pontiff was going to use.
The Secretary of State, who leaves Rome on December 1, will be traveling to Dubai with another member of the Curia, Cardinal Miguel Ayuzo Guixot, the prefect of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue. He will be replacing the Pope at the December 3 inauguration of the Faith Pavilion, Bruni said. This venue is being opened close to the COP28 to show religious leaders’ support in addressing ecological concerns.
Cardinal Ayuzo Guixot had been one of the main architects of Pope Francis’ visit to the United Arab Emirates from February 3 to 5, 2019. In particular, he had participated in the drafting of the Document on Fraternity, a text inviting religions to act together for peace, which the Pope had signed with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, during his visit.