Pope Francis will be making a historic visit to the United Arab Emirates in February 2019. The Vatican made this announcement on Thursday, further revealing that the landmark visit to the Arab Peninsula is scheduled for February 3 to 5, 2019.

Pope Francis will be visiting the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, for the first time, to attend an interfaith meeting. This will make Pope Francis the first pontiff to ever set foot in the Arab Peninsula. According to The Vatican, Pope Francis had accepted an invitation from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the Catholic community in the UAE.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, welcomed the news with a tweet, saying “We welcome the news of Pope Francis’ visit to the United Arab Emirates next February – a visit that will strengthen our ties and understanding of each other, enhance interfaith dialogue and help us to work together to maintain and build peace among the nations of the world”.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan also took to twitter to welcome the pope to the UAE, saying “The UAE is delighted to welcome His Holiness Pope Francis on the upcoming visit to the UAE. He is a symbol of peace, tolerance and the promotion of brotherhood. We look forward to a historic visit, through which we will seek dialogue on the peaceful coexistence among peoples”.