"Road Map" Needs a "Friendly Presence" in Mideast, Says Vatican

VATICAN CITY, JULY 1, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican believes that a “friendly presence” is necessary in the Middle East to make possible the implementation of the “road map” for peace.

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Israelis and Palestinians must be helped to “talk with one another, and to look at one another around a common table,” the Vatican secretary for relations with states, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, said on Monday.

Among other objectives, the so-called road map, sponsored by the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, calls for the declaration of a sovereign Palestinian state.

The plan constitutes “notable progress, due to the commitment of the United States,” and is an “example of how the international community, when it works in a unitary manner, can obtain results,” Archbishop Tauran said.
<br> The archbishop believes that it is important to ensure “respect for agreements” through a “friendly presence, of peace or insertion,” although “it is not up to the Holy See to propose the technical formula.”

This would make possible the implementation of the plan in a land where “one must always be conscious of the fact that, at night there is a peace process, in the morning an attack, and in the afternoon the outbreak of war,” he concluded.

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