Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pope Praises Morocco for Migrant Policy

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pope Praises Morocco for Migrant Policy

Article excerpt

RABAT, Morocco - Pope Francis praised Morocco as a model of religious moderation and migrant welcome as he kicked off a trip to the kingdom Saturday, warning that walls and fear-mongering won't stop people from exercising their legitimate right to seek a better life elsewhere.

King Mohamed VI welcomed Francis as he arrived during an unusual rainstorm and began a 27-hour visit aimed at boosting Christian-Muslim ties and showing solidarity with Morocco's ever-growing migrant community.

Morocco last year became the main destination for sub-Saharan African migrants seeking to reach Europe via Spain. The influx has strained the kingdom's resources and fueled anti-migrant sentiment in Spain ahead of the European Union nation's April 28 general election.

After an airport greeting, the two leaders took separate vehicles - Francis in his popemobile and the king in a Mercedes with a retracted roof - and paraded in tandem into town for a formal welcome ceremony at the complex where two of Morocco's past monarchs are buried.

Later Saturday, Francis planned to meet migrants at a center run by the Catholic Church's Caritas charity.

Ukrainians vote Sunday

Under a campaign billboard for President Petro Poroshenko declaring "there are many candidates but one president," Ukrainians picked through the meager selection - instant coffee, canned milk, bananas - on sale at a makeshift sidewalk stand in Kiev, emblematic of the country's economic hardship.

Ukraine plans to hold an election Sunday that will be the first genuinely contested presidential vote since street protests five years ago evolved into a revolution that deposed a widely despised, Russian-aligned leader.

Ukrainians will vote in a country divided between east and west, between corruption and a desire for honest government, between struggling, ordinary people and an ultrawealthy business oligarchy. …

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