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Kofi Anan meets with Pope on Iraq crisis

UN Secretary General Kofi Anan visited the Vatican on Tuesday, and spoke privately with Pope John Paul II for about 30 minutes, primarily about the crisis in Iraq.

An official Vatican statement about the meeting indicated that the Pope had reminded Anan that only the UN has the authority to ensure respect for international law.

The Vatican statement said the Holy Father stressed the need for "just and effective solutions" to the crisis that should "avoid new and grave sufferings on the part of the Iraqi people, who have already been tried by many years of embargo".

The conversation also reportedly included some discussion of the peace process in the Holy Land. The Pope also offered his public thanks to Anan for his "constant personal activity for peace in many parts of the world."

After meeting with the Pope, the UN official also met with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and with Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who had recently returned to Rome after a week in Iraq as the Pope's special envoy.

Catholic World News

Vatican Warns Against Unilateral Action
John Paul II Calls on Iraq to Respect U.N. Resolutions (Zenit)
Iraqi official's 'pilgrimage' to Assisi touches political nerves (Catholic News Service)
Aziz Promises Pope Iraq Will Cooperate with U.N. (Reuters)
Vatican envoy optimistic after meeting Saddam Hussein in Baghdad (Catholic News Service)
Iraqi official's 'pilgrimage' to Assisi touches political nerves
Vatican official fears Iraqi war will be seen as fight against Muslims (Catholic News Service)
[Victorian] Christians, Muslims in peace plea (The Age)
Annan: Iraq has to 'move very fast' (AP)
Holy See Is Not Pacifist But Peace-Making, Says Cardinal Sodano (Zenit)
Cardinal Etchegaray's Visit Helped Raise Church's Profile for Iraqis (Zenit)
Pope and Kofi Annan Stress "Essential Role" of U.N. in Iraqi Crisis (Zenit)
Cardinal Etchegaray briefs Pope, Kofi Anan is next (19/2/03)
Pope meets Kofi Annan (Independent Catholic News)
Statement on Holy Father's audience with Kofi Annan (Vatican Information Service)
Cardinal Sodano Sees More Diplomatic Options for Iraq (Catholic World News)

20 Feb 2003