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Papal envoy on peace mission to Washington

 Pope John Paul II is sending a special envoy to Washington to meet with US President George W Bush, in an effort to avert war with Iraq, the Vatican said on Saturday. Cardinal Pio Laghi, who served for many years served as the Holy See's ambassador to the United States, will be leaving for Washington in the next few days, said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls. He said: "The Cardinal, who will depart from Rome in the next few days, will be the bearer of a message from his Holiness and will have the opportunity to illustrate the position and the initiatives undertaken by the Holy See to contribute to disarmament and to peace in the Middle East."