Vatican City: Pope Francis's visit to the violence-hit Central African Republic (CAR) remains "on the programme", the Vatican said Monday, but the trip planned for late November would have to be cancelled if fighting in the capital intensifies.
"The Pope's visit to CAR remains on the programme. Francis greatly desires to go there," the Vatican's deputy spokesman Ciro Benedettini told AFP.
The Pope is expected in the chronically unstable former French colony from November 28 to 29 during a much-anticipated visit to Africa which will also see him travel to Kenya and Uganda. The six-day tour, his first to the continent, will begin on November 25.
But Francis hinted this weekend that part of the journey may have to be scrapped, saying he "hoped" to visit CAR despite a new spike in violence in the capital Bangui between Christians and Muslims.
The trip had previously been definite.