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Pope urges transparent elections in Iraq

Pope John Paul II told Iraq's new ambassador to the Vatican yesterday that national elections planned for January must be "fair and transparent" if the country hopes to build an authentic democracy.

Associated Press reports that the pope, who opposed the war in Iraq, also urged the Iraqi government to settle conflicts through dialogue and negotiations and use military force "only as a last resort".

The Holy Father received Albert Edward Ismail Yelda to accept his credentials as the first ambassador sent to the Holy See by the post-Saddam Hussein government led by interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

Allawi met with John Paul earlier this month. Allawi received the Pope's pledge that the church will do its part to help democracy in the country.

"As you prepare your people to undertake the task of freely electing the men and women who will lead the Iraq of tomorrow, I encourage the government in its efforts to make certain that these elections are fair and transparent, giving all eligible citizens an equal opportunity in this democratic right which they are encouraged to exercise," the pope told the ambassador.

He added that authentic democracy is only possible "in a state ruled by law."

Pope Urges Transparent Elections in Iraq (Associated Press/Yahoo 15/11/04)

Inscribe fundamental rights, defense of all human dignity into law, says Pope to Iraq (Catholic News Agency 15/11/04)
Pope encourages Iraq on its way to elections ( 15/11/04)
Pope receives Iraqi ambassador (cnews 15/11/04)
Pope backs Iraqi democracy (Catholic World News 15/11/04)
Fundamentalists apply "psychological terrorism" against Christians in Iraq (Catholic News Agency 12/11/04)
Some Iraqi Christians Feel Threatened (Pew Forum/Associated Press 12/11/04)
NZ Iraqis fear for relatives in homeland (NZ Catholic 13/11/04)
Allawi meets Pope (CathNews 5/11/04)
Pope Meets Allawi, Calls for Multi-Ethnic Iraq (Reuters 4/11/04)
Pope receives Iraqi Prime Minister in audience (Missionary Service News Agency 4/11/04)
Allawi appeals to 'spectators' (Reuters/CNN 4/11/04)
Pope is close to those who are working for the good of the country, Catholic Patriarch says ( 4/11/04)
The Pope to Allawi: build democracy ( 4/11/04)
A papal audience and encouragement for Allawi at the Vatican tomorrow ( 4/11/04)
All people called to become God's children, says Pope (Catholic News Agency 3/11/04)
Christ Is Key to Decipher History, Says John Paul II (Zenit 3/11/04)
Pope Mourns Death of Belgian Cardinal Joos (Zenit 3/11/04)
Pope wants Catholics to understand 'real presence' of Christ (Catholic News Service 3/11/04)
Pope meets Allawi, backs Iraqi democracy (Catholic World News 4/11/04)

Thanksgiving Implies Willingness to Share, Says Pope (Zenit 14/11/04)
John Paul Announces Second Synod of Bishops for Africa (Zenit 14/11/04)
John Paul II Reflects on Time of Thanksgiving (Zenit 14/11/04)
Fidelity to charismatic roots ensures more effective apostolate, says Pope (Catholic News Agency 15/11/04)
Pope Says Christian Unity is a Priority for His Pontificate (Zenit 14/11/04)
Pope says Anglican decisions over homosexuality are barrier to unity (Ekklesia 15/11/04)

16 Nov 2004