Pope Benedictus XVI received yesterday Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati who was on a visit to the Vatican for the first time. Prime Minister Mikati communicated to the Pope an official invitation from President Michel Sleiman to visit Lebanon.


The Vatican did not say whether the pope would accept the invitation but informed sources said a trip is being planned by the Vatican in April in which the pope would present Middle Eastern bishops with an "apostolic exhortation".


The document represents the conclusion of a Middle Eastern synod in 2010 that emphasised the defence of Christian minorities in the Middle East, which have been emigrating for economic reasons and due to pressure from Islamists. [DailyStar]