In yet another unexpected move and show of warmth, Pope Benedict XVI spoke with journalists casually for a few minutes this morning. They had been admitted to the Apostolic Palace Library to report on the visit with Zambian President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, reported AGI.

"You'll have much to do in this period," said the Pope as he approached the journalists. He asked each journalist his or her name and media outlet, making a brief comment to each one. To the only woman journalist present, he reportedly said: "God bless you in your work." He concluded by wishing them well in their work.

The Pope had a 15-minute audience with Mwanawasa and his wife. Zambia is one of two countries benefiting from the debt-reduction campaign promoted by the Italian Church in response to the appeal made by Pope John Paul II for the Jubilee Year.