Cairo: Egypt has recalled its ambassador from the Vatican for consultations over 'meddlesome' remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI over Coptic Christians, an Egyptian official said on Tuesday.
"This recall is made against the background of new statements made in the Vatican, which Egypt considers an unacceptable intervention in its internal affairs," said the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Hossam Zaki.
During an audience with ambassadors accredited to the Vatican on Monday, the Pontiff, referring to recent attacks on Christians in Egypt, Iraq and Nigeria, urged governments of the world to introduce measures to protect Christian minorities and ensure freedom of faith.
He had also urged leaders of the world to protect Christians against attacks targeting them after 23 Coptic Christians were killed in a bombing outside a church in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria on the New Year's Eve.
"Egypt will not allow any non-Egyptian side to intervene in its affairs under any pretext," said Zaki, according to the official Middle East News Agency."The Coptic issue lies at the core of Egypt's internal affairs."
Christians make up around 10 per cent of Egypt's 80 million population, who are mostly Muslims. The church attack outraged the Copts amid warnings against sectarian violence in this country, the Arab world's most populous.