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Pope asks for end to attacks on Palestinian Authority

 Holy See Press Office Director, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, made the following statement late this morning on the situation in the Middle East: "Worried about the serious attack on the headquarters of the Palestinian National Authority, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano has sent a message to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon asking, in the name of the Holy Father, for a suspension of such actions which compromise the already slender hopes for peace in that region, and expressing hope for an immediate resumption of dialogue between the parties in reciprocal respect and mutual understanding. "At the same time, the cardinal secretary of state assured President Arafat, at this sad hour for the Palestinian people and the National Authority, of the closeness of His Holiness John Paul II, and his own closeness, while repeating that the Holy See will continue its commitment for the defence of the right of all peoples to live in peace with secure borders and in a climate of mutual respect." source: Vatican Information Office