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Thursday, February 24, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 24 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "Today in the Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Michel Sleiman, president of the Republic of Lebanon. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "The cordial discussions served to highlight how Lebanon, because of the presence of various Christian and Muslim communities there, stands as a message of freedom and respectful coexistence, not only for the region but for the whole world. In this context, it is increasingly necessary to promote collaboration and dialogue between religious confessions.

  "Attention then turned to the importance of civil and religious authorities being committed to educating consciences in peace and reconciliation, and the hope was expressed that the formation of the new government may favour the desired stability of the nation, which is called to face important internal and international challenges.

  "The talks then dwelt on the situation in the Middle East, with particular reference to recent events in certain Arab States, with the parties expressing their shared conviction that it is vital to resolve the ongoing conflicts in the region.

  "Finally, particular attention was given to the delicate situation of Christians in the entire region, and to the contribution they can make for the good of society as a whole".
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