VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2002 ( John Paul II met with the new ambassador of Haiti to the Vatican and stressed the duty of those who govern to be committed to the eradication of poverty.

"To eliminate the profound causes of poverty and despair, to give every man his fundamental dignity, is a sacred duty for all nations and, in particular, for those who govern them," the Pope stated.

The new Haitian envoy, Carl Henri Guiteau, 51, had been the assistant director general of the national secondary schools. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

"From this perspective," the Pope said, "it is particularly important that the political decision-making of leadership have as their objective the good and service of the Haitian people, without allowing themselves to be conditioned by particular or hidden interests, which damage the good functioning of institutions and maintain inequalities."

"Given the increasingly shocking endemic scandal of poverty, which generates permanent instability in the country and fragments the social fabric," the Pope requested that persons to whom "the noble mission to organize and manage the public matters ['res publica'] has been given, be more conscious of the cry of the poor and not disappoint their hope."

The Holy Father recalled his visit to Haiti in 1983, and he encouraged "all ways of expression and all the initiatives which will enable Haitians to build their country and make progress on the ways of a new hope."