VATICAN (CWN) -- US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will meet with Pope John Paul II on Saturday, March 7. Their discussions are expected to include the latest developments in Iraq, Cuba, and the Middle East, as well as the continuing question of international debt.

      The Holy Father's meeting with the American diplomat will come at the end of a week during which all papal audiences have been stopped, so that the Pope and his staff can undertake their annual retreat.

      The Holy See has been at odds with the United States regarding the prospects for military action against Iraq, and the international embargoes on both Iraq and Cuba. In each instance the Vatican has argued for lifting the economic sanctions, while the United States has favored continuing the embargo. The recent release of political prisoners from Cuba may help to ease the way for a change of policy in that case.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT:To subscribe to Catholic World News Service, available daily by e-mail, click here .

March 4, 1998 volume 9, no. 45         DAILY CATHOLIC