.- This morning Pope John Paul II received Robert Kocharian, president of the Republic of Armenia to the Vatican, and recalled their previous meetings, first, in the Vatican in 1999 and later in Yerevan in 2001, during the Pope's apostolic visit to Armenia.
The Pope told the president of his "sincere appreciation for the good relations between the Holy See and the government of your country. I know that the Catholic community is welcomed and respected, and that its various activities contribute to the well-being of the entire nation."
He went on, "Everyone earnestly hopes that the collaboration between the Holy See and the Armenian government will continue to grow and, where the situation calls for it, that eventual improvements to the status of the Catholic Church will be made."
The Holy Father also gave assurances of the "friendly and respectful relations between the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church.”
This understanding, which is even more active thanks to the initiative of the Catholicos Karekin II, will certainly have positive repercussions for the peaceful coexistence of the entire Armenian people, who are called to face no small number of social and economic challenges."
"I also hope," said the Holy Father, "that true and lasting peace comes to the region of Nagorno-Karabagh where you, President Kocharian, come from. This will come about by a decisive refusal of violence and a patient dialogue between the parties, thanks also to active international mediation."
The Pope concluded by recalling that the Holy See, "which over the centuries has not failed to denounce violence and defend the rights of the weak, will continue to support all efforts aimed at building a solid and lasting peace."