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Papal nuncio gives grim report from Iraq

Papal nuncio in Iraq, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, has said the Americans are "no longer in command of the situation", and he does not know whether they will regain control.

Speaking to the Italian daily Il Giornale, Archbishop Filoni also condemned the Iraqis who have taken Western hostages, saying that they have "lost all sense of proportion" in their approach.

"In Washington, they still don't understand that they will never be loved, and that the people of Iraq will not tolerate the occupation," he said.

Archbishop Filoni recommended that US leaders should "have the courage to transfer power immediately."

The people of Iraq "need a leader who can speak their language," he said, suggesting that top US official in Iraq Paul Bremer, does not understand the situation as native Iraqis see it.

"If the governor would leave his bunker, and walk around through the city, he would realize that things are not going well," the archbishop said.

Archbishop Filoni, who has been the Vatican's representative in Iraq for three years, remained at his station in Baghdad throughout the war, choosing to say in the city even after virtually all other diplomats fled. He compared the situation in Baghdad today with the situation prior to the war, and in the immediate aftermath of the combat that led to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Papal nuncio gives grim report from Iraq (Catholic World News 15/4/04)

Coalition Provisional Authority
Archbishop Fernando Filoni (

16 Apr 2004