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Pompeo praises Egypt 'freedoms' during church, mosque visit


US on Thursday praised Egypt's religious freedoms as he visited a vast cathedral and a mosque in the country's new capital east of

Washington's top diplomat, who describes himself as an evangelical Christian, is on a tour aimed at reassuring regional US allies after Washington's shock decision to withdraw US troops from

On Thursday evening he visited the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ and the in Egypt's New Administrative Capital, 45 kilometres (28 miles) east of the capital.

At the mosque, he praised Egypt's "freedoms here in this houses of worship, these big, beautiful, gorgeous buildings where the Lord is clearly at work".

The two buildings were inaugurated by on Sunday, a day after a deadly bomb blast near a church in the country where jihadists have repeatedly targeted Christians.

"This is a special country where Sisi clearly made a point by putting this, this largest cathedral in the here in this place," said, calling the building "a great symbol of hope".

The cathedral's inauguration was hailed by US Donald Trump, who wrote on that he was "excited to see our friends in opening the biggest Cathedral in the Middle East".

"Sisi is moving his country to a more inclusive future," Trump said.

Sisi, a former who led the military in ousting president Mohamed Morsi, is accused of leading a relentless crackdown on both pro-democracy campaigners and Islamists.

Coptic Christians, who account for around 10 per cent of Egypt's population, have been hit by a string of sometimes deadly attacks by the Islamic State group in recent years.

They have long complained of official discrimination.

Asked about the role of governments towards religious minorities, said they had "an obligation to make sure that every individual can choose to worship the way they want or choose".

"It's wonderful that here in it's possible," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 11 2019. 03:45 IST