Vatican City, May 4, 2007 / 09:15 am
"This morning, Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, former president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, visited His Holiness Benedict XVI. He also met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
This meeting is of particular importance because of Pope Benedict’s call at Regensburg for a dialogue between civilizations. In a world, where the turmoil in the Middle East is constantly on display, Khatami’s meeting with Benedict is a sign of hope that constructive efforts towards peace are being made.
"The conversations provided an opportunity to consider the importance of serene dialogue between cultures, with the aim of overcoming the severe tensions that mark our time and of promoting fruitful collaboration in the service of peace and of the development of all peoples.
"Mention was also made of the situation and problems of Christian communities in the Middle East and in Iran.”
"Concerning the situation in the Middle East, the need was reiterated for robust initiatives from the international community - such as is happening at the meeting in Sharm al-Sheikh - with a view to beginning serious negotiations that take into account the rights of everyone, while respecting international legality and with an awareness of the need to rebuild mutual trust."