Colin Powell Will Visit Pope to Discuss Mideast

ROME, MAY 29, 2003 ( John Paul II will receive U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in audience to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and the Mideast situation in the wake of the Iraqi war.

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The news was published Wednesday by U.S. sources and confirmed later by the Vatican.

Powell on Monday will inform the Pope on the state of contacts to begin the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, following the «road map» supported by the United States, Russia, Europe and the United Nations, the U.S. sources stated.

Discussions will also be held on the process of reconstruction and pacification of Iraq following the war, on which Rome and Washington held different positions.

Papal envoy Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council «Cor Unum,» arrived in Iraq on Wednesday to coordinate Catholics’ contribution to the country’s reconstruction, including a donation from the Holy Father.

Powell is due to spend only a few hours of meetings with the Pope and Vatican officials and later with Italian authorities before leaving Italy, the sources said.

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