Pope and Lebanese Leader Discuss Mideast Peace

VATICAN CITY, APR. 23, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II received Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri today and discussed the need to renew Mideast negotiations and respect U.N. resolutions to break about peace in the region.

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The Lebanese prime minister, a Sunni Muslim, arrived in the Vatican, accompanied by his wife and an entourage that included numerous leaders of his government. After talking with the Holy Father, Hariri met with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, and Archbishop Jean Louis Tauran, secretary for relations with states.

A Vatican press statement at the end of the meeting revealed that “the Holy See considered it opportune to underline, once again, the importance of reconciliation as the essential element for the human and social reconstruction of Lebanon.”

“As regards the Middle East, the Holy See confirmed the need to comply with international law and U.N. resolutions, either to renew negotiations or to reach the much desired peace,” the statement adds.

For the Pope, Lebanon is not just a country, but an example of dialogue and collaboration between cultures and religions, as it was before the war that bloodied its soil for 15 years, beginning in 1975.

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