Vatican     IRAQ'S KURDS ANXIOUSLY AWAIT POPE
The Kurdish leaders of northern Iraq are greatly looking forward to John Paul II's visit to the country.
    Safeen Dizayee, representative of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, does not believe that the papal trip will imply at any time support for Saddam Hussein's regime. "I do not think such a danger exists," he said.
    "The Pope's visit is human and pastoral, and refers to the sufferings of the Iraqi people, whether they be Christian or not; he will only say the truth," Dizayee commented. He also invited the Pope to visit the northern zone, where the majority of Kurds live.
    The Kurds live in the Middle East in Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and in a smaller number, in part of present-day Russia. It is estimated that 21.8% of the total number of Kurds lives in Iraq.
    The US and some of its allies have expressed opposition to the visit because of the implied support for the regime of President Saddam Hussein.
   
    Zenit (available soon) 2:18pm 24/9/99

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