Pope Francis will break a 15-month hiatus from international travel to visit Iraq in March.

The Holy See Press Office has confirmed that the Pope accepted the invitation of the Republic of Iraq and the local Catholic Church.

The Apostolic Journey will take place from 5 March to 8 March and includes visits to Baghdad, the plain of Ur, Mosul, and Qaraqosh.

His itinerary will be released at a later date, and will, according to the Press Office take into consideration the evolution of the worldwide health emergency.

In January this year, Pope Francis met the President of Iraq, Barham Salih, at an audience in the Vatican.

The two spoke about "preserving the historical presence of Christians in the country" and "highlighting the need to guarantee their security and a place in the future of Iraq.", according to the Holy See press office.

A few hundred thousand Christians are left in Iraq following sectarian warfare after the 2003 US-led invasion and the Islamic State group's sweep through a third of the country in 2014.

The Iraq foreign ministry said the March visit "symbolises a message of peace to Iraq and the whole region".

Additional reporting AFP