CruxNow – In an interview to an Argentine news site, Pope Francis confirmed travel plans for the end of this year and spoke of several international gatherings of world leaders, including the upcoming G20 summit in Rome and the COP26 gathering in Glasgow.
Among other things, the pope confirmed rumors that he is planning to travel to Greece and Cyprus in December and urged world leaders preparing for the G20 and COP26 summits to be creative in how they approach global politics and economics in a post-pandemic world.
“In the first week of December I am going to Greece and Cyprus,” Pope Francis said in the interview with Vatican journalist Hernán Reyes Alcaide, correspondent in Rome for the Argentine news outlet Télam.
The Vatican, he said, “is working” on the final schedule for the trip, which could include a stop on the Greek island of Lesbos, which would mark his second visit to the island, following a daytrip in 2016 during which he visited a refugee camp and, on his flight back, brought with him 12 refugees, including three Syrian families.
In the interview, published Oct. 22, Francis said he also has ambitious travel aspirations for 2022, hoping to make trips to Africa, Europe, and Oceania.
“For the moment I have in my mind two trips that I have not started yet, and those are the Congo and Hungary,” he said.
Pope Francis just traveled the Hungarian capital of Budapest in September to preside over the closing Mass of the 52nd Eucharistic Congress. It was not a state visit, and he was only in the city for a few hours.
He most recently visited Africa in 2019, with a tour of Madagascar, Mozambique, and Mauritius.
“Also, I still have to pay back the bill for the trip to Papua New Guinea and East Timor,” he said, referring to a trip that was originally on his calendar for 2020 but suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Another trip the pope failed to make in 2020 was a day visit to Malta. Earlier this year, rumors abounded that a stop in Malta could be added onto the end of his trip to Greece and Cyprus, but it now appears that will not happen.