Thursday, March 20, 2003

On the eve of a possible U.S. attack, Archbishop Sleiman [of Baghdad] told the Misna missionary agency that "many of our faithful, who have roots in the country, have gone back to their lands. They have left the city; they fled with everything they could take. Perhaps they will be safe there."

"The churches, however, will stay open, regardless of what happens, to guarantee at any time shelter for all," he said. "The government has given food rations so that, for at least a week or so, there should be no food problems.

"I would like to say to President George W. Bush: 'War also harms the victor; the only possible victory is peace.'"

"In a certain sense, we are all Americans, as we are all citizens of the world," the archbishop added. "I love that country and those people, and I would like them to understand what they are about to do."

* * * * *

In an interview,Powell revealed on Tuesday that he called Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran a day earlier.

The Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera reported that the Holy See appreciated the "welcome" telephone call because, according to Vatican sources, Powell also assured the Vatican that "all necessary precautions have been taken to avoid civilian victims."


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