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  • » 02/16/2006, 00.00

    vatican - lebanon

    Prime Minister Siniora illustrates Lebanon's difficult situation to the Pope



    In an audience at the Vatican this morning, Lebanese p.m. spoke to the Pope of his meeting with the various religious leaders in Lebanon, the Mohammad caricatures, attacks in the Christian quarter of Beirut and violence among various religious groups.  The Vatican reaffirms its closeness to "that noble Nation."

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The current situation "in Lebanon and in the Middle East in general, underlining the shared commitment to working to educate populations towards reconciliation and peace, in the respect of human rights and in particular of religious freedom": these were, according to a Vatican statement, the main topics of conversation between Benedict XVI and Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, received today in the Vatican.  The meeting was described as "very cordial."

    According to the Holy See Press Office statement, the Lebanese Prime Minister's visit "was meant to confirm the great devotion of the people of Lebanon for the Roman Pontiff, and the Holy See in general, which has always been close to that noble Nation."  In meetings that Siniora had with the Pope and with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, "special consideration was given to the situation of Christians and to the contribution that they intend to give to the country's progress along the lines set out, on the eve of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, by Pope John II, of venerable memory, in the Apostolic Exhortation, "A new hope for Lebanon."

    According to Lebanese journalists who are travelling with the Prime Minister in Italy, Siniora was planning to report on the results of his recent meeting with the leaders of the various religions (Muslims and Christians of various denominations) present in Lebanon, from which emerged a unanimous condemnation against violence, the Mohammad caricatures, attacks in the Christian quarter of Beirut, and violence among various religious groups.  "I want to be the Prime Minister of all Lebanese," Siniora had said, "and to weave a bond between all the country's religions."

    Siniora, who is a Sunni Muslim, visited the Vatican with an entourage of 11 persons, which included his wife Huda, Foreign Affairs Minister Fawzi Salloukh, Social Affairs Minister Nayla Moawad, the Minister for Relations with Parliament, Michel Pharaon, Information Minister Ghazi Al Aridi and Culture Minister Tarek Mitri.  The latter, an Orthodox Christian, gave as a gift to the Pope the German edition of his book, "In the Name of God?", along with a card saying that, with this gift,  the Minister wished "to witness his filial love" and to thank Benedict XVI for his "affection" toward "the sister Church" of the Orthodox.  Mitri recalled having already met with the then Cardinal Ratzinger, a meeting which also Benedict XVI remembered.

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    See also

    26/03/2008 SAUDI ARABIA
    Contradictory signals from the Saudis on interreligious dialogue
    Favourable attitudes toward welcoming other religions alternate with reactions of entrenchment and dissent. King Abdullah declares openly his commitment to fostering interreligious dialogue, while last week the majority of the members of the consultative council voted against the resolution to respect other faiths.

    20/02/2006 VATICAN - ISLAM
    Pope: respect for religions, but insults do not justify violence

    Benedict XVI condemns the Mohammad caricatures and asks that the exercise of religious freedom be allowed everywhere in conditions of reciprocity.



    11/05/2008 VATICAN - LEBANON
    Benedict XVI, appeal for peace in Lebanon


    17/02/2006 LEBANON – VATICAN
    Lebanon holds a special place in the Pope's heart, says Siniora
    The prime minister highlights the "Holy See's special interest in Lebanon and its unique role in the Middle East region". Vatican slams the blasphemous cartoons. Patriarch Sfeir demands that an agreement be reached over President Lahoud's successor before his removal.

    14/02/2013 LEBANON - VATICAN
    Pope's resignation sends "positive shock" to the Church and the world, Maronite patriarch says
    Card Béchara Boutros Raï stresses Benedict XVI's "responsible behaviour", and praises his "courage and sincerity." His action is a warning to those who are in "positions of responsibility" in the Church and the world. He also talks about Lebanon, the pontiff's last apostolic destination.



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