VATICAN WELCOMES IRAQ PEACE PROSPECTS

     VATICAN (CWN) -- The Vatican has expressed warm satisfaction with the tentative accord reached between UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The Holy See has also indicated a strong desire to see that agreement ratified by the UN Security Council.

      A statement released by the Vatican press office today indicated that the agreement "confirms once again" that dialogue is more effective than force as a means of resolving international difficulties. The Holy See went on to suggest that further dialogue might lead to the lifting of the international embargo on Iraq-- and embargo which the Vatican has consistently opposed.

      For the past several weeks the Vatican diplomatic corps has been working with steadily mounting energy to forestall the possibility of military action in the Persian Gulf. Archbishop Renato Martino, the permanent Vatican observer at the UN, had met with Kofi Annan last week, urging the UN leader to visit Baghdad for personal negotiations with Saddam Hussein.

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February 24, 1998 volume 9, no. 39         DAILY CATHOLIC