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Iraqi Chaldean delegation meets with Shiite Muslim cleric al-Sistani

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most powerful Shiite Muslim cleric has met a Chaldean church delegation, in what Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Emmanuel Delly has described as a "very cordial meeting, like between brothers who love each".

Patriarch Delly (pictured) told Asianews that the discussion focused upon how to "treat a sick country".

He said: "Together, we are trying to find ways to achieve peace."

The delegation met al-Sistani at his home in Najaf. Patriarch Delly said Al-Sistani warmly welcomed them.

"I am very satisfied and he, too, was very happy," he reported. "Let us hope that it will bear the desired fruit. As the Holy Father said this week, we are working for peace by our actions and our prayers. We know that the Pope never stops thinking about Iraq."

The consensus of the discussion was that religious authorities must "further encourage those who are working hard to establish security and stability in the country".

"All we can do is pray that the Lord show us the path to peace," he said.

Meanwhile Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi is scheduled to meet with Pope John Paul II this week.

News agencies in Rome, quoting Vatican sources, said the meeting between John Paul II and the Iraqi Prime Minister will be held on Thursday.

John Paul staunchly opposed the US-led war against Iraq, but strongly supports the reconstruction of the country.

Chaldean Church delegation meets al-Sistani to build peace in the country ( 30/10/04)
Pope to meet with Iraqi prime minister at Vatican ( 30/10/04)

The Christians of Iraq Are Under Attack - But the Pope Is Fighting for Them (L'Espresso/www.chiesa 29/10/04)
Elections will improve things, Mosul priest says ( 30/10/04)
Pope to meet Iraqi leader (Catholic World News 30/10/04)

32 Nov 2004