Pope sends envoy to Baghdad

 A key Vatican diplomat has been sent to Baghdad to ask Iraq for "effective international collaboration". Papal Envoy Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace left for Iraq yesterday after a weekend when Pope John Paul II urged Christians not to think war inevitable and to pray for peace. Cardinal Etchegaray has already carried out delicate missions at the Pope's request most notably last year in Jerusalem during the siege of Bethlehem's Basilica of the Nativity. According to the Vatican the purpose of the current papal mission is to demonstrate to the Pope's solicitude in favour of peace and help the Iraqi authorities "to undertake serious reflection on the duty of effective international cooperation, based on justice and international law." On Friday the Holy Father will receive the Iraqi Vice-Prime Minister Tarek Aziz, a Catholic of the Chaldean rite and four days later UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is expected at the Vatican.

Share this story