Egypt's Coptic pope meets Australian prime minister

Pope Tawadros II, left, Bishop Anba Suriel, center, and lawmaker Peter Khalil, right, prepare to address the media in Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. Tawadros met with Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and senior government officials during the spiritual leader of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church's first visit to the country. (AP Photo/Rod McGuirk)
Pope Tawadros II addresses media in Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. Tawadros met with Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and senior government officials during the spiritual leader of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church's first visit to the country. (AP Photo/Rod McGuirk)
Pope Tawadros II addresses media in Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. Tawadros met with Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and senior government officials during the spiritual leader of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church's first visit to the country. (AP Photo/Rod McGuirk)

CANBERRA, Australia — Pope Tawadros II met with Australia's prime minister and senior government officials on Wednesday during the spiritual leader of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church's first visit to the country.

Peter Khalil, the only Copt elected to the Australian Parliament, attended the meetings at Parliament House and said they covered the importance of Egyptian unity and the international fight against extremism.

Tawadros told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that Egypt had economic problems following the disruption of revolutions in 2011 and 2013.

"I think these meetings and this visit strengthens the relationship between our two countries," the 64-year-old pope said.

"Any support from Australia or other countries to Egypt will be appreciated from all Egyptians," he added.

Coptic Christians have come under increasing attack from Islamic militants in Egypt.

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