Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Vatican sending foreign affairs undersecretary to Annapolis meeting

The Vatican, which has often hoped to play a role in Middle East peace solutions, is sending a senior foreign affairs official to the Annapolis Mideast conference opening today.

The Holy See has been invited to attend and will be represented by Monsignor Pietro Parolin, undersecretary of foreign affairs, the Vatican said.

On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI urged the faithful to pray that the participants at the summit find the "wisdom and courage" necessary to bring peace to the Holy Land.

The pope has repeatedly denounced the killings and kidnappings of priests and other Christians in the Middle East, as well as policies that have forced thousands of members of ancient Christian communities to flee the region.

The Vatican has also called for international guarantees to protect Christian, Muslim and Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem.

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