According to a report of the official agency INA, the Holy Father's message was sent on the 34th anniversary of the Baath Party's coming to power.

In his message, the Pope said that he "implores God to bless Iraq and its people, and to make peace reign in the region."

On numerous occasions, John Paul II has urged the United Nations to end the embargo imposed on Iraq since 1990. The embargo made it necessary for him to cancel his plans at the end of 1999 and beginning of 2000 to undertake a pilgrimage to Ur of the Chaldeans, cradle of Abraham, today located in Iraq.