L'Osservatore Romano Notes Wide Opposition to Plan Against Iraq

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 23, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Widespread international opposition to a U.S. plan to the overthrow the Iraqi regime became Page 1 news in the Vatican’s semiofficial newspaper.

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«International positions distance themselves from the hypothesis of a U.S. attack,» reads a three-column headline in the Italian edition of L’Osservatore Romano dated Aug. 24.

The article notes British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw’s comments to BBC. Straw said he believes the best means to reduce the threat represented by President Saddam Hussein is the return of U.N. inspectors to Iraq.

Straw, member of a government that is traditionally aligned with the United States on such issues, said he believes that military action continues to be an option, but should not be carried out if there are other means to address the danger posed by Baghdad.

The article also gives extensive coverage to Russia’s position, which is opposed to an attack on Iraq.

Vatican officials have expressed opposition to a possible military attack against Iraq. In February, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of state, said that an attack would further destabilize the Mideast.

John Paul II has repeatedly appealed for the lifting of the embargo against Iraq, since its victims are the most vulnerable: women, children and the elderly.

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