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Friday, October 21, 2016
Holy See offers to mediate in Najaf
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¬†The Holy See has offered to mediate for the holy Shiite city of Najaf, where yesterday, after the failure of negotiations, the fighting continued. The offer was communicated by Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Angelo Sodano , who said: "If requested, the Pope will willingly consent to this mediation. The aim is for all the parties to sit around a table and talk." The Vatican State Secretary added in an Italian Radio Rai news broadcast: "the entire mission of the Pope is of mediation, though not always in the technical sense foreseen by international law, which establishes that a mediation can only be requested by a State." Cardinal Sodano spoke of a mission of "good offices", specifying that "if it can help the sides to speak, the Pope will not retract." Monsignor Emmanuel Delly, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, told the Italian Adnkronos, news agency: "If there is something we can do, we are ready to intervene and we are grateful to the Pope for his constant closeness and offer to help the Iraqi population." On Sunday a spokesman for the rebel imam Moqtada al Sadr, head of the Shiite uprising in Najaf, requested a mediation of Italy and the Vatican with the United States for a truce in the Shiite holy city. The visit of a delegation of the Iraqi National Conference, begun on Sunday, was postponed last night, following another day of intense fighting with the arrival in Najaf of thousands of Shiite 'human shields' ready to sacrifice themselves in the Mosque of Alž. The delegation was due to negotiate directly with Sadr in Najaf. The Conference, which unites over a thousand delegates from 70 different locations, opened on Sunday amid significant internal contrasts and the sound of continuous mortar fire. Three US soldiers were killed yesterday in Najaf in fighting with militants loyal to Moqtada al Sadr. According to various sources, the US forces are just a few hundred metres from the Mosque of Alž, the most sacred site of Najaf, defended by some 2,000 men ready to sacrifice their lives. Source: MISNA
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