Vatican City, Jan 11, 2011 / 17:30 pm
The Holy See has no desire to escalate conflict or strain diplomatic relations, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said Jan. 11 in response to Egypt recalling its ambassador in protest of Pope Benedict's condemnation of the recent violence against Christians in the country.
Fr. Lombardi made his remarks after Egypt temporarily recalled Mrs. Lamia Aly Mekhemar Hamada, ambassador of Arab Republic of Egypt to the Holy See. The action by the Egyptian government took place after Pope Benedict implored ambassadors in a Jan. 9 address to protect Christian minorities.
The Pope's comments followed a bomb attack by Islamic militants on a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria, Egypt on New Year's Eve that killed 23 people.
Hossam Zaki, an Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman, condemned the Pope's Jan. 9 remarks, saying the pontiff committed “unacceptable interference” in the country's “internal affairs.”