Vatican: U.S. Action Could Be Seen as Self-Defense

YEREVAN, Armenia, SEPT. 27, 2001 ( The Vatican today repeated its view that if the United States had to resort to force to protect its citizens from future threats, such action could be considered as legitimate self-defense.

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In an interview with a Mexican television network in Armenia, Vatican chief spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls repeated the basic themes of an interview he gave to Reuters on Monday while John Paul II was in Kazakhstan.

He told Mexico´s Televisa that the Vatican was not giving a «green light» to Washington to take indiscriminate military action, as some media reported earlier this week.

«No one ever said ´do whatever you want´ because there is a very precise Christian ethic on legitimate defense that takes proportionality into account and says that blood of innocent victims should not be spilled,» Navarro-Valls said.

U.S. President George W. Bush has demanded that Afghanistan´s ruling Taliban hand over militant Osama bin Laden, whom it holds directly responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

Navarro-Valls said earlier this week that the Vatican would prefer to see those responsible for the attacks handed over to face justice, but if this were not possible, an act of self-defense would be legitimate.

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