Pope John Paul II meets Iraq's Ambassador

Monday, November 15, 2004

VATICANPope John Paul II has received Mr. Albert Edward Ismail Yelda, Iraq's ambassador today. During the meeting the Pope has expressed wishes for the reconstruction of Iraq, as a democratic state, with tolerance to minorities:

"Iraq is currently in the throes of the difficult process of transition from a totalitarian regime to the formation of a democratic State in which the dignity of each person is respected and all citizens enjoy equal rights. Authentic democracy is possible "only in a State ruled by law", and requires that "the necessary conditions be present for the advancement both of the individual through education and formation in true ideals, and ... through the creation of structures of participation and shared responsibility" (...) "The struggle to overcome the challenges brought about by poverty, unemployment and violence is also currently faced by Iraq. May your government work untiringly to settle disputes and conflicts through dialogue and negotiation, having recourse to military force only as a last resort. Accordingly, it is essential that the State, with the assistance of the International Community, promote mutual understanding and tolerance among its various ethnic and religious groups. This will enable the people of the region to create an environment that is not only committed to justice and peace but is also capable of sustaining the necessary economic growth and development integral for the well-being of your citizens and the country itself."