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Serbian President Cancels Vatican Visit After Engine Trouble

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic canceled an official visit to the Vatican on April 17 after his plane had to return to Belgrade due to engine trouble.

The government's press office said that one of the engines of the Dassault Falcon 50 jet had "technical problems" during the flight but landed safely back at Belgrade’s Surcin airport.

Built in 1981, the plane has a history of problems, which have raised security concerns and disrupted visiting plans in the past.

The Serbian president’s visit was aimed at upholding the "good relations between the Vatican and Serbia," said Serbian authorities.

Nikolic sent a letter of apology to Pope Francis, expressing regret for the cancellation and expressed hope that they will meet as soon as possible, the president's cabinet told Tanjug state news agency.

Most of Serbia's 7.1 million people are Orthodox Christians.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP and Tanjug