Pope Francis releases a dove at the end of a visit to the Chaldean Catholic Church of St. Simon Bar Sabbae in Tbilisi, Georgia, September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
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Pope Francis called for respect for international law and the sovereign rights of nations as he arrived in Georgia Friday, an implicit criticism of Russia, which keeps troops in two breakaway areas of the country.Russia, which fought a short war with Georgia in 2008, is one of the few countries that recognize the contested regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.Less than 1 percent of Georgia's population of about 3.7 million are Catholic.The Georgian Orthodox Church, one of the most conservative in the Orthodox world, is opposed to dialogue with Rome.After two days in Georgia, Francis will make a day stop in neighboring Azerbaijan, which is mostly Muslim, before returning to Rome.
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