Pope to discuss Mideast peace process with Assad
Pope John Paul II and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will discuss the Middle East peace process during the Holy Father's visit to Syria in May
"The pope will certainly raise (the peace process)" in his talks, according to Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, secretary for the Holy See's relations with states. He made the announcement on Saturday following a meeting with his Syrian counterpart, Faruq al-Shara.
"I think the pope will speak of the regional situation," Monsignor Tauran said, adding that this could include the question of Lebanon, whose Maronite Christian patriarch, Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, is a vocal opponent of the Syrian military presence in his country.
Monsignor Tauran said that, during his meeting with Shara, the two had discussed the situation in the region, including the "dramatic situation in the Holy Land," in the context of the pope's coming 5-8 May visit.