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Pope Francis has announced he is to make a one-day visit to Albania in September.
He told pilgrims at his Sunday Angelus at St Peter’s Square in Rome that he would visit Tirana, the capital, on Sunday 21 September.
It will be his first visit to a European nation outside Italy since his election as Pope.
Catholics make up around 10 per cent of the population of Albania, according to the 2011 census. More than half of the population is Muslim. Religious practice was prohibited in Albania under the communist Government 1967-1992.
“With this brief visit I want to confirm the Church of Albania in the faith, and bear witness to my encouragement and love for a country that has suffered for so long in consequence of the ideologies of the past,” he said.
The Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, said Francis’ visit would promote ‘‘the values of coexistence in peace among faiths and ethnicities".
Pope Francis is due to visit South Korea in August and Sri Lanka and the Philippines in January.