Russia and Vatican Note a Common Ground on Iraqi Crisis

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 3, 2003 ( A Russian government official visited the Vatican to inform the Holy See about its position on the Iraqi crisis and to note a degree of “convergence” between Moscow and Rome.

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Aleksej Meskov, undersecretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Russian Federation, met today with Monsignor Pietro Parolin, the undersecretary for relations with states, according to Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls.

“Minister Meskov wished to inform the Holy See about the position of the Russian government on the international situation at the present moment,” Navarro-Valls said in a statement. “During the talks, a convergence with the Holy See position was noted.”

Russia will call for new inspections in Iraq at the meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Friday, said Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that his country rejects the use of force in the Iraqi crisis and defends a diplomatic and peaceful solution.

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