US official says Vatican offers 'concrete proposals' on Iraqi aid
As US troops consolidated their control over the Iraqi capital, the Vatican offered "concrete proposals" to the United States on how church groups can help distribute humanitarian aid in the war-scarred country, a US official said.
Speaking after meetings with Vatican officials yesterday, John R. Bolton, the US undersecretary for arms control and international security, said he planned to immediately convey the Vatican's "constructive and helpful" proposals to Washington for transmission to field commanders in Iraq.
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in a statement that Bolton "appreciated the willingness of the Catholic Church to collaborate in the humanitarian field to alleviate the sufferings of the Iraqi population."
Neither he nor Bolton offered any specifics on what was discussed, and Bolton stressed that coalition military officials in Iraq would have the final say on implementing such proposals.
Bolton said the United States was aware of the need for "nonpolitical" help in distributing much-needed aid, since the elimination of Iraq's ruling Baath Party was also causing a breakdown in the country's food distribution system.
Catholic News Service
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10 Apr 2003