WEDNESDAY
February 9, 2000
volume 11, no. 28
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

HISTORIC PROGRESS IN VATICAN-ARAB RELATIONS
John Paul II Names Delegate to Arab League

    VATICAN CITY, FEB 8 (ZENIT).- John Paul II has named Archbishop Paolo Giglio, current Apostolic Nuncio in Egypt, delegate of the Holy See to the Arab League.

    The Arab League is a political-economic-military alliance founded in Cairo in 1945, with the objective of promoting mutual cooperation, forming common political consensus, and strengthening the role of the Arab world in international relations. It has twenty-two member states: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Morocco, Tunis, Kuwait, Algeria, Qatar, Bahrein, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Mauritania, Somalia, Djibouti, and Comores, as well as the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

    The principal organ of the League is its Council, whose decisions are binding only for member States voting in favor of a particular measure. With headquarters in Cairo, it comprises three other organizations: the Common Defense Council, the Permanent Military Commission, and the Economic Council.

    In 1978, when Egypt drew closer to Israel (conceived by the League members to be the principal declared enemy), a crisis ensued. The North African country was expelled, and the central administration was transferred to Tunis. This separation lasted until 1987, when Arab leaders decided to reestablish diplomatic relations with Egypt: it was definitively readmitted in 1989, and once again is home to the League's headquarters.

    During the nineties the League became one of the principal forces to urge peace negotiations in the Middle East, thus strengthening its role as representative of the Arab world to national and international organisms. Its defense of the sovereignty of Kuwait when attacked by Iraq -- triggering the Gulf War -- and its support of the international coalition commanded by the United States were also decisive.

    The nomination of the first delegate of the Holy See, who will sit among the representatives of the 22 Arab countries united in the League, is an important event in the history of relations between the Church of Rome and the Arabian world with its more than 300 million inhabitants, on the eve of the Pope's apostolic visit to Egypt. ZE00020804

          

February 9, 2000
volume 11, no. 28
NEWS & VIEWS

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