VATICAN CITY, MAY 12, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican currently enjoys full diplomatic relations with 174 countries, and Benedict XVI is looking for more.
In his first address, today, to the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See, the new Pope sent a sign of openness to countries that do not have diplomatic relations with the Holy See, such as China, Vietnam, North Korea and Saudi Arabia.
The Holy Father addressed “a deferential greeting to the civil authorities of those countries, formulating the desire to see them represented as soon as possible in the Apostolic See.”
The Pope thanked those countries that do not have diplomatic relations, which “associated themselves to the ceremonies on the occasion of the death of my predecessor and my election to the See of Peter.”
The new Bishop of Rome revealed that “from those countries, in particular those in which the Catholic communities are numerous, I received messages that I appreciate particularly.”
“I would like to express the great appreciation I feel for these communities and for the ensemble of peoples to which they belong, assuring all that they are present in my prayer,” he said.
Also present were representatives of the Russian Federation, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Order of Malta.
The last countries to establish relations with Rome are the Republic of East Timor and the Emirate of Qatar.