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Pope schedules urgent summit on Holy Land

Concerned for Christians in the Holy Land, Pope John Paul II will preside over a meeting of Christian leaders of the region, to be held tomorrow in the Vatican.

The news was confirmed in a statement on Monday by Vatican Press Office director Joaquín Navarro-Valls.

The meeting, which will consider the future of Christians in the Holy Land, will include important representatives from the region, along with the Vatican secretary of state, Roman Curia aides, and presidents of relevant episcopal conferences.

Navarro-Valls aid the meeting will be of a "pastoral character".

It was called by the Pope to "confirm once again, in this delicate situation, his spiritual closeness with the populations of the Holy Land and share the drama of their daily life, too often tested by acts of violence and discrimination," Navarro-Valls stated.

He reported that the purpose of the meeting is "to manifest a common commitment in favour of the continuity of the millennial presence of the Catholic community in that region, and to offer an appropriate contribution to justice and reconciliation among those whose faith is deeply rooted in those places."