DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     June 12, 1998     vol. 9, no. 114

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

IRAQ CALLS ON WESTERN CHURCHES TO PRESS FOR END TO SANCTIONS WHILE NORTH AFRICAN BISHOPS LAMENT EMBARGO ON LIBYA

          BAGHDAD (CWNews.com) - Iraq's deputy prime minister on Wednesday called on Western religious leaders to pressure their governments to lift the eight-year-old sanctions against the country, imposed by the UN after Iraq invaded its neighbor Kuwait.

          Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz addressed the closing session of a conference in Baghdad of Christian leaders from 30 countries, included Cardinal Roger Etchegaray. "It is time the church played a more active role, particularly in the West," said Aziz, himself a Christian. He claimed that 1.5 million people had died as a result of the embargo which prevents Iraq from freely selling its oil worldwide or importing many items. "It is very important for the church to know the facts. There is a big responsibility on it for the people suffering injustice and violence," he said.

          Aziz, who earlier this year traveled to meet Pope John Paul II, said he told the Holy Father that "those carrying out the injustices against Iraq are Christian countries, or countries pretending to be Christian." He said Christians in these "aggressive countries" have a duty to demand that their leaders adhere to Christian principles.

          At the same time, the bishops' conferences of northern Africa, at a regional assembly in Tunis, have called for "a just solution to the problems caused" by the international blockades, especially on Libya.

          In the final communiqué of their meeting, the bishops said that recent international embargos have caused severe suffering; they specifically mentioned the plight of the poor in Libya.

          The bishops also hailed the recent decline in episodes of violence in Algeria, and voiced their hope for a "gradual return to a less worrisome security situation."


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June 12, 1998       volume 9, no. 114
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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