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Vatican     HOLY SEE SAYS ARAFAT HAS NO AUTHORITY TO SPEAK FOR CHRISTIANS
The Vatican said on Friday that it had never asked Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to represent Christians in talks with Israel regarding Jerusalem.
    In a bid to claim eastern Jerusalem and its holy sites for the capital of a future Palestinian state, Arafat has repeatedly said that eastern Jerusalem and sites sacred to Islam and Christianity must come under his control in order for there to be an agreement with Israel.
    "Neither a request or agreement to represent Christians in talks concerning Jerusalem has been made between the Holy See and Arafat," the Vatican press office said in response to questions on Friday.
    Israeli Cabinet Minister Michael Melchior met with the Vatican representative to the U.N. on Thursday evening in New York.
    According to Melchior's spokesman Moni Mordechai, Archbishop Renato Martino told Melchior the church disliked that fact that Arafat is claiming to be the guardian over the Christian holy places.
   
CNS
   
11 Sep 00



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