Saudi Arabia ‘agrees deal with Vatican to build churches in the kingdom’

Saudi Arabia has agreed a deal with the Vatican to build churches for Christian worshippers in the Arab country, it is claimed by Middle Eastern media.

If confirmed, the supposed agreement between Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Mohammed bin Abdel Karim Al-Issa of the Muslim World League would mark a historic first in Saudi history.

The cardinal has visited Saudi Arabia this year and met the royal family, urging the Muslim country to treat its citizens equally.

Under the alleged agreement the churches will be built alongside the establishment of a committee to improve relations between the two, Egypt Independent reports.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Vatican.

Saudi Arabia’s anti-extremism Etidal centre hosted Cardinal Tauran last month as the crown prince pushes for inter-religious exchange in the ultra-conservative Sunni kingdom.

There are no Christian churches in Saudi Arabia, the only country in the region without one.

The Vatican has previously spoken of its wish to provide the Christian population of Saudi Arabia with the ability to worship.

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