Vatican Statement After Pope's Meeting with Tariq Aziz

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 14, 2003 ( Here is a translation of the statement made by Joaquín Navarro-Valls, director of the Vatican Press Office, following John Paul II’s audience today with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.

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This morning, Friday, Feb. 14, 2003, the Holy Father received H.E. Mr. Tariq Aziz, deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq, who, subsequently, met with His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of state, who was accompanied by H.E. Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, secretary for relations with states.

The meetings allowed for a wide exchange of points of view on the known danger of an armed intervention in Iraq, which would add further grave sufferings to those peoples, already tried by long years of embargo.

Mr. Aziz wished to assure the will of the Iraqi government to cooperate with the international community, in particular in the matter of disarmament, while on the part of the Holy See the need was confirmed to respect faithfully, with concrete commitments, the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, guaranteed by international legality.

Finally, it was confirmed that the Catholic Church will continue its work of education for peace and for coexistence among peoples, so that in every circumstance peaceful solutions will be found.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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