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Cardinal Etchegaray meets Iraqi leaders

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday, telling waiting journalists that he would urge Saddam Hussein "to cooperate with the UN on the basis of peace and international law".

The cardinal, who travelled to Iraq as a personal emissary for Pope John Paul II, carried a personal message from the Pope for the Iraqi leader. He is expected to meet with Saddam Hussein within the next few days, but no date for the meeting has been set.

Surrounded by reporters as he arrived at the airport, the French-born cardinal said that he was committed to taking every possible stop to avoid a military conflict. "War is not an extreme solution, but the worst solution," he said.

Cardinal Etchegaray began a round of visits with Iraqi leaders yesterday, meeting with vice president Youssef Ramadan and foreign minister Tarek Aziz. He will remain in Baghdad until Monday.

After an hour-long discussion, he reported that there were "signs of interest" in the conversation, saying that all parties expressed a desire to work "toward peace with justice".

Catholic World News

Papal Envoy to Iraq Arrives in Jordan (AP)
Pope sends peace envoy to Iraq to meet with Hussein (Reuters)
Vatican Envoy Arrives in Jordan En Route to Iraq (Fox News)
The Pope: Why I say no to war (London Times)
Bishops' Moral Concerns About War In Iraq: Still "Valid And Useful" (US Catholic Conference)
US nun says war on Iraq could affect aid needed in Afghanistan (Catholic News Service)
No sane reason for war on Iraq - [Wellington's] Cardinal Thomas Williams (Catholic Leader)
US religious leaders want to meet Bush face-to-face to warn about war (Ecumenical News International)
US theologian tells Vatican officials war would be self-defence (12/2/03)
Anxious Iraqis place hope in Papal Envoy (12/2/03)
Vatican official claims Americans ready for 15,000 troop deaths (12/2/03)
Catholics work to keep US soldiers supplied with rosaries (12/2/03)

13 Feb 2003