Vatican Extols "Force of Law, Not the Law of Force"

Archbishop Tauran Meets with Diplomats Stationed at Holy See

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2003 ( A Vatican official told the ambassadors at the Holy See that it is imperative to have “the force of law, and not the law of force” prevail in the Iraqi crisis.

Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican secretary for relations with states, stressed this proposal Thursday before the representatives of 177 countries who gathered for a closed-door meeting.

He reported on the contacts John Paul II and his aides have had with world leaders to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

“Archbishop Tauran affirmed that Iraq must obey the U.N. resolutions, but at the same time the concept of a preventive war is inadmissible,” the dean of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, Giovanni Galassi, told the Italian newspaper Avvenire.

The ambassador of the Republic of San Marino added that, according to Archbishop Tauran’s report, “it is illegal for one state to attack another without the proclamation of a state of war and, in any case, the use of force in this case is disproportionate.”

From the meeting, held in St. Martha’s House in the Vatican, it was clear that “the U.N. inspections should continue, which could be decisive before arriving at an irreversible point,” said Galassi, who on behalf of the diplomatic corps asked the Holy See to call the meeting.

A military operation, the ambassador said, referring to the archbishop’s address, “would lead to the loss of human lives and the creation of a destabilizing situation for the whole area.”

That same day, Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, met with some 20 European ambassadors, in the Greek Embassy, to reiterate the Holy See’s position.

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