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Vatican official says peace efforts should intensify

Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican's foreign minister, has met US Secretary of State Colin Powell for talks that centred on the renewed conflict in the Middle East.

The meeting took place in Bucharest, Romania, during a reunion earlier this week of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's ministerial council.

Besides the renewed Israeli-Palestinian violence, the pair also discussed the US-led war in Afghanistan and Pope John Paul II's prayer initiatives for peace, scheduled for December and January.

On the conference floor, Archbishop Tauran told delegates that worldwide peacekeeping efforts must intensify following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

"More than ever, after 11 September, the international community needs to reflect on ways of effectively promoting a culture of peace," he said.