Saudi Foreign Minister Visits Vatican

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 7, 2009 ( Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal paid a visit to the Vatican to promote interreligious dialogue.

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Accompanied by a delegation, Prince Saud met Friday with Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, to discuss giving continuity to the World Conference on Dialogue, held last July in Madrid, Spain.

Cardinal Tauran delivered the closing address at the meeting, convoked by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and sponsored by the Mecca-based Muslim World League. King Juan Carlos of Spain and spiritual representatives of virtually all religions attended the conference.

The Saudi minister also met with Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, the dicastery’s secretary, Monsignor Andrew Vissanu Thanya-anan, the subsecretary, and Monsignor Khaled Akasheh, the director of the dicastery’s Islam office.

Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries in the world that does not have diplomatic relations with the Holy See. Benedict XVI received King Abdullah in audience in November 2007, becoming the first Pope to receive a Saudi King.

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