Today at Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father met with Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri Kamel Al-Maliki. During the course of their meeting, Pope Benedict stressed the need to end violence in the country, and received an invitation to visit Iraq.
According to a press release from the Vatican, their discussion, “provided an opportunity to examine a number of fundamental aspects of the situation in Iraq,” and its surrounding region.
The heads of stated focused on the struggles of the “many Iraqi refugees, both inside and outside the country, who are in need of assistance, also with a view to their hoped-for return.”
“Renewed condemnation was expressed for the violence that continues to hit various parts of the country almost daily, not sparing the Christian communities which strongly feel the need for greater security.”
The Pope also expressed hope that “Iraq may definitively discover the road to peace and development through dialogue and co-operation among all ethnic and religious groups, including minorities, which, while respecting their respective identities and in a spirit of reconciliation and of searching for the common good, together undertake the moral and civil reconstruction of the country.”
The Holy Father and prime minister also reaffirmed the importance of inter-religious dialogue “as a way to religious understanding and civil coexistence.”
The prime minister concluded his visit by inviting the Holy Father to visit Iraq.