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3 News Items on the Pope's Visit to Iraq in December. We must take advantage of this trip by increasing our contact w/ the Churches and our outreach with the media. Please share your thoughts. ------- (1)Pope of Vatican to Iraq on December (by ArabicNews.Com; Iraq, Politics, August 28) (2)U.S. Concerned About Pope's Possible Trip To Iraq (by Reuters, August 28) (3) Aziz Calls For Military Halt For Pope Trip (by Reuters, August 27) ================== (1) Pope of Vatican to Iraq on December ArabicNews.Com; Iraq, Politics, 8/28/99 The patriarch of the Catholic Keldans, Rapheal Bedawid, which has Baghdad as a main headquarters, announced that Pope John Paul II will pay a 48-hour visit to Iraq between the second and fifth of next December. Diplomatic sources in Jordanian capital Amman said in press declarations that the visit of the Pope - which will be witnessed by the whole world - will form a victory and support for the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that the latter did not look for before. Sources added that the meeting of the Pope with the Iraqi president will be as "forgiveness for Saddam and a shock for the USA" that seeks to try Hussein as a war criminal, thus the visit will be an important obvious message from the Pope to the whole world, while "Saddam" will consider it as an important and diplomatic victory. The Pope has called several times for uplifting the sanctions imposed on Iraq since 1990. ========= (2) U.S. Concerned About Pope's Possible Trip To Iraq (Saturday August 28 3:02 AM ET) WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The State Department said Friday the Vatican should consider the political implications of a possible visit by Pope John Paul II to Iraq to celebrate the millennium. ``We have expressed our concerns in diplomatic channels because of the likelihood the regime in Iraq would attempt to manipulate the visit for political purposes,'' said State Department spokesman James Foley. ``We have urged the Vatican to take this reality into account,'' the spokesman added. Raphael Bidawid, Iraqi patriarch of the Eastern Chaldean church, told Reuters during a visit to Beirut the Vatican and the Iraqi government were discussing a proposed papal trip. ``We believe the visit will occur in the first week of December but the exact date and time have yet to be set. This issue is currently under discussion but the visit will certainly take place before 2000,'' Bidawid said. The pope said in a document in June that he wanted to visit Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Greece and Holy Land sites ruled by Israel and the Palestinian Authority for millennium celebrations. Foley said the United States understood and sympathized with the pope's desire to make the pilgrimage. ``At the same time Iraq remains a brutal dictatorship where torture and summary execution are commonplace and people are denied the most fundamental human rights,'' he said. The United States led the alliance against Iraq in the Gulf War of 1991 and supports Iraqi opposition groups that want to overthrow President Saddam Hussein. ========== (3) Aziz Calls For Military Halt For Pope Trip By Philip Pullella Friday August 27 12:41 PM ET ROME (Reuters) - Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz said in an interview issued Friday that the United States and Britain should stop military operations over Iraq at least during Pope John Paul's expected visit this year. The pope, who is expected to meet Iraqi President Saddam Hussein during the trip possibly in December, wants to visit Ur, the ancient city of Mesopotamia where the Old Testament patriarch Abraham was born. Aziz, a Christian, spoke in a taped interview to members of a Catholic conference on the same day that Iraq's Catholic patriarch said the pope might visit in the first week of December. ``If the Americans and the English are real Christians, as they profess to be, they should not carry out any act of aggression against Iraq,'' he said. U.S. and British planes have been patrolling no-fly zones in southern and northern Iraq and have bombed some Iraqi targets in response to Iraqi anti-aircraft guns. Iraq, which was driven out of Kuwait in 1991 by international forces after invading its neighbor, does not recognize the no-fly zones. ``They should never do it, but above all they should not do it when a religious personality like the Holy Father will travel to Iraq,'' Aziz said in the interview. A text of the interview was made available to participants at the conference. Aziz originally had been due to attend the conference but later changed plans. Raphael Bidawid, Iraqi patriarch of the Eastern Chaldean church, told Reuters during a visit to Beirut the Vatican and the Iraqi government were discussing a proposed papal trip. ``We believe the visit will occur in the first week of December but the exact date and time have yet to be set. This issue is currently under discussion but the visit will certainly take place before 2000,'' Bidawid said. Vatican sources have said the Holy See was planning to have initial contacts with Western military authorities and the United Nations to notify them that the pope may fly into a country that was the subject of military operations. U.S. and British warplanes have regularly bombed surface-to-air missile and radar sites in the no-fly zones, which were set up by the West to protect minorities from attack by Saddam. Aziz also said his government had no fears for the pope's security while in Iraq. ``Obviously we are responsible for the security of our guests. I think that Iraq is a safe country. If the pope decides to make a visit to Iraq, he will not have to fear for his safety,'' Aziz said. There are roughly one million Christians in Iraq, some 80 percent belonging to the Eastern Chaldean rite and the remaining 20 percent to the Roman Catholic Church. The ailing John Paul, 79, has repeatedly said he wants to retrace the main events of the Old Testament as part of celebrations to herald Christianity's third millennium. The pope said in a document in June that he wanted to visit Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Greece and Holy Land sites ruled by Israel and the Palestinian Authority for millennium celebrations. ========== -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Please do not sent emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***