BEIRUT

Middle East

Sisi visits Coptic pope before Easter

Egypt's former military chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, shakes hands with Coptic Pope Tawadros II at Cairo’s St. Mark’s Cathedral, seat of the Coptic Orthodox Pope, in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, April 19, 2014. Sisi on Monday took the final formal step to run in next month's presidential election, submitting to the election commission eight times the number of signatures required. He is widely expected to win. (AP Photo/Girgis Mahboub, Office of the Coptic Pope)

CAIRO: Egypt's former military chief and presidential front-runner has visited the Coptic pope ahead of Orthodox Easter, making his first public appearance since he formally made his bid for the presidency.

As military chief, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi removed Egypt's first democratically elected president, Islamist Mohammad Morsi, last summer after a wave of popular protests demanding he steps down. Pope Tawadros backed the military's overthrow.

Saturday's visit by Sissi to the St. Mark's Cathedral, the seat of the Coptic Orthodox pope, is his first public appearance since he formalized his bid this week. According to a statement, Sissi told Pope Tawadros that Christians and Muslims would remain united.

Sisi, riding a wave of widespread support for the military after Morsi's ouster, is widely expected to win the coming May presidential election.

 

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