VATICAN CITY, JUNE 30, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is the telegram sent today in John Paul II’s name by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano to Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawer, new president of Iraq.
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On the happy occasion of the transfer of power to the interim government of the state of Iraq, the Holy Father sends his cordial greetings to Your Excellency and to the citizens of your country. He prays that, as a new chapter begins in the life of the nation, the hopes of the Iraqi people for peace, freedom and prosperity will soon be fulfilled. His Holiness has always been deeply concerned for the suffering people of Iraq. He has expressed his solidarity with them on many occasions, not least through the constant presence among them of his personal representative, the apostolic nuncio. Now, as you take up the office of president, the Catholic Church throughout the world offers you every support and encouragement in the task of building a new Iraq. Your noble country, once home to Abraham, is now home to a rich variety of faith traditions. The Holy Father is confident that all religious groups within the country will be able to make their voices heard and to play their rightful part in forging a new society, committed to true freedom of conscience, to justice for all and to peaceful dialogue. Assuring Your Excellency and all the Iraqi people of his prayers, the Holy Father invokes upon you the abundant blessings of Almighty God.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State