VATICAN CITY, APR 28, 2001 (VIS) - The Holy Father this morning
   received the Letters of Credence of Iraq's new ambassador to the Holy
   See, Abdul-Amir Al- Anbari.
   Speaking English, the Pope told the ambassador in his opening remarks
   of his "esteem for the Iraqi people, whom I remember daily in my
   prayers, especially in light of the continuing difficulties which they
   face. As the embargo in your country continues to claim victims, I
   renew my appeal to the international community that innocent people
   should not be made to pay the consequences of a destructive war whose
   effects are still being felt by those who are weakest and most
   "Today's world," he continued, "although sadly afflicted in many
   regions by tension, violence and armed conflict, is seeking greater
   equity and stability so that the whole human family can live in true
   justice and everlasting peace. These are not abstract concepts or
   remote ideals, rather they are values which dwell in the heart of
   every individual and nation, to which all peoples have a right."
   John Paul II affirmed that "it is precisely the pursuit of this
   justice and this peace which is the driving force behind every
   activity of the Holy See in the area of international diplomacy."
   Quoting from his January 13 speech to the diplomatic corps, he stated
   that "the Holy See firmly believes ... 'that without social solidarity
   or recourse to law and the instruments of international diplomacy,
   these terrible situations would be even more dramatic and could become
   "The Holy See therefore sees as one of its principal duties that of
   reminding public opinion that 'no authority, no political program and
   no ideology is entitled to reduce human beings to what they can do or
   produce'. The inalienable rights and personal dignity of every human
   being must be upheld, the transcendent dimension of the human person
   must be defended'," as must be "'the religious dimension of human
   beings and human history ... (which) is a vital element in shaping the
   person and the society to which people belong'."
   "In this context," the Pope said in conclusion, "my thoughts turn
   naturally to the members of the Iraqi Catholic community. Together
   with their Muslim countrymen, Iraqi Christians wish to work for unity
   and harmony. Their Christian faith and values inspire them to
   cultivate a spirit of mutual respect, with pride in their national
   identity and concern for the progress of their country."