Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb (L) meets with Pope Tawadros II to wish him a merry christmas, on January 7, 2015. ASWAT MASRIYA.
CAIRO, Jan 7 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt's Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb visited on Wednesday Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral to meet Pope Tawadros II in the occasion of the Coptic Christmas.
Copts in Egypt, who make up almost 10 percent of the population, celebrate Christmas on January 7 every year.
Mehleb delivered a short speech at the cathedral, where he stressed the importance of "national unity" and warned against sectarian "strife".
"We don’t say [someone is] Muslim or Christian but we say [they are] Egyptians," Mehleb said. "I recall the words of the late Pope Shenouda; Egypt is a nation that lives within us and not one we inhabit."
Egypt's Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi also visited the pope at the cathedral on Wednesday, alongside a delegation from the ministry.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi paid the cathedral a surprise visit on Tuesday, becoming the first president to attend the Christmas mass.