Bethlehem: Vatican negotiator arrives today

 Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, is due to arrive in Jerusalem this afternoon to help in negotiations to end the siege at the Church of the Nativity, the Vatican news service reports. A former president of the Vatican's peace and justice council, Cardinal Etchegeray, 80, is a member of the "congregation for the Eastern Churches" with the Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah. Conditions for the 200 or more people who have been barricaded inside the church for nearly a month without food, water, or utilities were described as 'unbearable' by the missionary news service yesterday. Yesterday afternoon, the BBC reported that a group of 26 Palestinians had been escorted out of the church by a monk and taken into Israeli custody for questioning. None of the group were believed to be terrorist suspects.

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