VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis will visit Azerbaijan and Georgia in the autumn, the Vatican said on Saturday, one day after combatants in the region agreed to cease fighting that has killed dozens in the past week.
Azerbaijan’s military and Armenian-backed separatists were locked in shelling and artillery strikes for four days over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region, stoking fears of all-out war.
The Vatican did not mention the conflict as it announced the trip scheduled from September 30 to October 2.
There are very few Roman Catholics in either country. Azerbaijan is about 95 percent Muslim while over 80 percent of Georgians are Eastern Orthodox Christians.
The Vatican announced last month Francis’s June 24-26 visit to Armenia, where again very few Catholics live and over 90 percent of the population are Oriental Orthodox Christians.
That trip could upset Turkey if Francis again describes the massacre of Christian Armenians in World War One as “genocide”.
Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Tom Heneghan