Vatican to Brief Diplomats on Its Iraqi Position

Pope Will Receive Iranian President’s Personal Envoy

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 26, 2003 ( The Holy See will convoke an extraordinary meeting with the diplomats accredited to the Vatican in order to set forth its position on the Iraq crisis.

Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican secretary for relations with states, is responsible for explaining the Holy See’s position to the representatives of the 177 countries accredited to the Vatican.

According to the newspaper Avvenire, the meeting was requested by Giovanni Galassi, representative of the Republic of San Marino and dean of the diplomatic corps.

The meeting will be held behind closed doors Thursday and likely include the presence of the U.S. and Iraqi ambassadors.

That same day, the U.N. Security Council will meet to discuss the position of the United States, Great Britain and Spain, which support a U.N. resolution stating that Saddam Hussein has lost the last chance to disarm and avoid war.

Security Council members Germany, France and Russia are opposed to this resolution and propose the continuance of U.N. inspectors’ work to seek and eliminate weapons of mass destruction.

Also on Thursday, John Paul II will receive Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar in the Vatican, as well as Sayyed Mohammed Reza Khatami, vice president of the Iranian Assembly of Experts, who is traveling to Rome as the personal envoy of his brother, Iranian President Mohammed Khatami.

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