07/29/2005, 00.00
VATICAN – IRAQ
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Algerian diplomats killed in Iraq were "builders of peace", says Holy See

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – In a telegram signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Card Angelo Sodano, and sent to Algerian President Abdelaziz Boutefilka, Pope Benedict XVI said that the two Algerian diplomats killed in Iraq were "builders of peace" who made their contribution to dialogue and the reconstruction of that country.

In the message, Benedict XVI renewed his appeal to those tempted to solve conflict by taking "the path of violence" that they may be "jolted into greater humanity and justice in the legitimate respect of people".

"The death of any man," the telegram read, "cannot be the solution to any claim and cannot turn murderers into partners of dialogue and peace".

As he shared the sorrow of the families and of the authorities and the people of Algeria, "touched by this tragedy which touches the international community," Benedict XVI evoked "the courage and devotion" of the two murdered men "to their mission as builders of peace and [agents of] negotiation in the country" as well as "their help in [its] reconstruction".

The Pope urged "all men of good will to join together to build a world of brotherhood between the peoples and religions, so that diversity can be an opportunity for sharing and friendship.

Finally, Benedict XVI invoked for all the people "touched by this hateful act, the fullness of divine blessings".

Algerian Ambassador to Iraq Ali Belaroussi and his assistant Ezzedin Belkadi were abducted by an armed group on July 21 in Baghdad. A group calling itself al-Qaeda in Iraq announced that it had killed the two diplomats because of their support for the United States. "No security in Iraq for the enemies of Islam. We warned you not to ally yourself with America," the group said. The two Algerian were shown on videotape on July 26.

Their death comes in the wake of the murder of another diplomat, from Egypt.

According to Iraqi authorities, the terrorists are targeting Arab diplomats to prevent their governments from recognising the new Iraqi government.

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