Pope Was Advised Not to Travel to Kazakhstan

ASTANA, Kazakhstan, SEPT. 24, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II said he was advised by many people not to visit Kazakhstan, following the attacks on the United States, but he did so anyway because of the need to stress the need for dialogue between cultures and religions.

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The Pope made the disclosure to the Kazakh president Sunday when he paid a courtesy visit to the Presidential Palace.

«In these last days, I was told that this trip would be impossible because of the tragic events in the United States,» he said at the end of his private meeting with President Nursultan Nazarbayev. «However, we see it was possible.»

The Pope did not specify who advised him against making the trip.

For his part, at the end of the meeting, Nazarbayev confirmed his determination to struggle against terrorism. The president said his country «is prepared to be a part of a coalition of states to combat it, because we believe that no state, no matter how large it is, can conquer terrorism alone.»

Nazarbayev thanked the Pope for his visit and said publicly that it was an important witness for those who try to sow division and violence among religions.

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