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Following is from an American Catholic news source. The preparations for the visit were 'suspended' by the Vatican eralier this month but now seen back on. Fingers crossed. Number: 11333 Date: 18-Oct-99 Type: B Code: Iraq, Vatican Begin Papal Trip Preparations BAGHDAD (CWNews.com) - The papal nuncio to Iraq met with the country's foreign minister on Saturday to discuss the upcoming papal trip in December, according to reports from the Vatican's embassy in Baghdad on Sunday. Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto and Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf met to discuss the visit despite recent concerns regarding various aspects of the visit by Pope John Paul II to the birthplace of the biblical patriarch Abraham at Ur. Iraqi dissidents and the US and British governments have expressed concern that the repressive regime of the President Saddam Hussein would use the visit for propaganda purposes. Elements of the Iraqi government have also publicly demanded that the Holy Father make political statements in opposition to UN economic sanctions during the trip which has been characterized by the Vatican as a spiritual pilgrimage. The Pope has often spoken out against the effects of the embargo -- imposed for Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait -- on the weakest sectors of Iraqi society. Earlier this month, Vatican sources had said the visit might not take place in early December because there were serious stumbling blocks. According to media reports, Sahaf told Archbishop Lazzarotto that Iraq would happily receive the usual advance planning team from the Vatican and discuss details of the papal trip, they said, but added that no schedule had been set up so far. Chris Cole Southwark Justice and Peace Office Cathedral Clergy House Westminster Bridge Road London SE1 7HY 0171 928 9742 http://www.swkjp.dircon.co.uk -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 send emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***