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Monday, September 22, 2003


VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2003 - Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, secretary for Relations with States, made the following declaration today:

"As I leave Georgia, I would like to express the gratitude of the Holy See delegation for the hospitality shown to us during these two days.

"I regret, however, that the objective of my visit - the signing of a bilateral accord between Georgia and the Holy See - was not able to be realized, due to the Georgian authorities having second thoughts at the last moment.

"It is mainly the Catholic community in this country that will suffer this failed pledge, a community which continues to be deprived of every juridical guarantee and to whom we express our solidarity.

"In addition, the Holy See delegation felt gravely hurt by the conduct of the Georgian Orthodox Church which has spread news that does not correspond to the truth, notwithstanding the fact that it has been shown many times (our) willingness to provide information about how the talks were going.

"These events will undoubtedly be the cause of great suffering for His Holiness John Paul II who, on the occasion of his visit in November of 1999, invited all citizens of this country, and in particular Christians, to collaborate together in the moral rebuilding of this great nation.

"The Holy See hopes that Georgia, which takes part in important international conventions on human rights, will know how to remedy such a regrettable situation."

...;HOLY SEE; GEORGIA ACCORD;...;TAURAN;VIS;20030922;Word: 230;

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