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Cablegate: Holy See Reaction to Secretary's Unsc

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VATICAN 000483

SIPDIS

DEPT. FOR EUR/WE MENNUTI, S/ES/O, NEA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/06/2013
TAGS: IZ PREL PREL PREL PREL VT VTIZ VTIZ VTIZ

SUBJECT: HOLY SEE REACTION TO SECRETARY'S UNSC
PRESENTATION; POPE TO MEET WITH TARIQ AZIZ

FEBRUARY 14

REF: VATICAN 5756

CLASSIFIED BY: DCM BRENT HARDT. REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D)

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SUMMARY
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PAGE 02 VATICA 00483 01 OF 02 070959Z


1. (C) HOLY SEE OFFICIALS ARE STILL ASSESSING THE SECRETARY'S UNSC PRESENTATION, AND HAVE INDICATED THEY WILL PROVIDE A CONSIDERED RESPONSE AFTER CONFERRING WITH THE FOREIGN MINISTER. THEY SHARE THE U.S. VIEW THAT SADDAM IS A DANGER TO THE WORLD, AND HAVE NOW COME TO SEE THE MERITS OF HIS
REMOVAL. THE HOLY SEE CONTINUES TO OPPOSE WAR AS A MEANS TO ACHIEVE THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY'S OBJECTIVES IN IRAQ, AND IS INTENSIFYING ITS DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITY TO HEAD OFF WAR. FOLLOWING WEEKS OF SPECULATION OF POSSIBLE HOLY SEE ENGAGEMENT WITH BAGHDAD, THE VATICAN CONFIRMED FEBRUARY 5
THAT TARIQ AZIZ WOULD MEET WITH THE POPE FEBRUARY 14. THE HOLY SEE'S DEPUTY FOREIGN MINSTER TOLD US THE POPE WOULD URGE BAGHDAD TO COMPLY WITH UN RESOLUTIONS TO AVOID WAR, BUT WOULD
ALSO EXPRESS SOLIDARITY WITH THE SUFFERING OF THE IRAQI PEOPLE. GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER JOSCHKA FISCHER WILL ALSO MEET WITH THE POPE FEBRUARY 7 TO DISCUSS IRAQ. END SUMMARY

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RECOGNITION OF SADDAM'S DANGER, BUT OPPOSED TO FORCE
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2. (C) IN EMBASSY'S INITIAL CONTACTS WITH THE HOLY SEE
FOLLOWING THE SECRETARY'S PRESENTATION TO THE UNSC, VATICAN OFFICIALS HAVE INDICATED THAT THEY ARE STILL ASSESSING THE INFORMATION PROVIDED (WHICH FEW APPEARED TO HAVE WATCHED LIVE) AND WOULD OFFER AN OFFICIAL REACTION AFTER CONFERRING WITH FOREIGN MINISTER TAURAN. HOWEVER, MIDDLE EAST COUNTRY
DIRECTOR MONS. FRANCO COPPOLA TOLD POLOFF THAT THE VATICAN ""DOES NOT DISAGREE"" THAT SADDAM IS A DANGER BOTH TO HIS
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PAGE 03 VATICA 00483 01 OF 02 070959Z
PEOPLE AND TO THE WORLD, AND SHOULD BE REMOVED. THIS GOES FURTHER THAN PREVIOUS STATEMENTS WHICH HAVE RECOGNIZED SADDAM'S DANGER, BUT DID NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THE IMPORTANCE OF HIS DEPARTURE. COPPOLA ADDED THAT THE HOLY SEE STANDS BY ITS
VIEW THAT WAR IS NOT THE BEST WAY TO EFFECT CHANGE IN BAGHDAD -- THOUGH HE DID NOT OFFER ANY ALTERNATIVE. PRESSED ON THE SPECIFICS OF POWELL'S PRESENTATION OF SADDAM'S THREAT, HE SAID THE VATICAN DOES NOT HAVE A ROLE IN ASSESSING THE VERACITY OR MEANING OF THOSE FACTS -- BUT ASSUMES THE INSPECTORS WILL PLAY SUCH A ROLE. PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL OF JUSTICE AND PEACE RENATO MARTINO TOLD VATICAN RADIO THAT THE PRESENTATION WAS ""NOT AN ADLAI STEVENSON MOMENT"" AND WOULD NOT CHANGE HIS VIEW ON THE
NECESSITY OF WAR (THOUGH HE ACKNOWLEDGED TO THE REPORTED THAT HE HAD NOT SEEN THE PRESENTATION AND WAS BASING HIS COMMENTS ON TODAY'S MEDIA REPORTS).


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AZIZ TO MEET POPE
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3. (U) PRIOR TO THE SECRETARY'S PRESENTATION, LE MONDE AND FIGARO HAD REPORTED THAT IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER TARIQ AZIZ INFORMED REPORTERS HE WOULD BE MEETING WITH THE POPE FEBRUARY 14. THE HOLY SEE WAS CAUGHT OFF GUARD BY AZIZ'S REVELATION, BUT SUBSEQUENTLY CONFIRMED THAT AZIZ WOULD MEET THE POPE AT
AZIZ'S REQUEST. DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER PAROLIN TOLD DCM THAT THE POPE WOULD TELL IRAQ TO COLLABORATE ""WITHOUT RESERVATION"" WITH THE UN INSPECTORS TO ENSURE THE SUCCESS OF THE INSPECTION PROCESS AND AVOID A WAR. AT THE SAME TIME, THE POPE WOULD ALSO LIKELY EXPRESS HIS SOLIDARITY FOR THE
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PAGE 04 VATICA 00483 01 OF 02 070959Z
SUFFERING OF THE IRAQI PEOPLE (HE HAD LAST MET WITH AZIZ IN 1998 WHEN AZIZ WAS TOURING EUROPE SEEKING TO LIFT UN SANCTIONS) AND WOULD MAKE ANOTHER APPEAL FOR THE WORLD TO AVOID WAR. MEDIA REACTION TO THE ANNOUNCEMENT HAS POINTED OUT THAT THE POPE'S EFFORTS TO WORK WITH IRAQ WHEN HE HAD
BEEN SEEKING TO VISIT ABRAHAM'S BIRTHPLACE IN IRAQ DURING THE JUBILEE YEAR PROVED UNSUCCESSFUL. AZIZ WILL ALSO LIKELY MEET WITH SECRETARY OF STATE SODANO AND FOREIGN MINISTER TAURAN, PER NORMAL VATICAN PROTOCOL. ITALIAN PAPERS HAVE NOTED THAT
CATHOLIC ACTIVIST FATHER JEAN-MARIE BENJAMIN, WHO HAS MADE DOCUMENTARIES ABOUT THE CONDITIONS OF THE IRAQI PEOPLE, PLAYED A KEY ROLE IN ARRANGING THE MEETING.


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CATHOLIC MEDIA STILL NOT CONVINCED
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4. (U) VATICAN-LINKED MEDIA GENERALLY REMAINED SKEPTICAL FOLLOWING THE SECRETARY'S PRESENTATION. ITALY'S LEADING CATHOLIC DAILY, AVVENIRE, COMMENTED THAT THE SECRETARY'S PRESENTATION DID NOT PROVIDE THE PROOF NEEDED TO END THE POLEMICS AND DISAGREEMENTS. THEY ASSERTED THAT ""THOSE WHO

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CONFIDENTIAL PTQ4435

PAGE 01 VATICA 00483 02 OF 02 070959Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AMAD-00 CIAE-00 DODE-00 DS-00 VC-00
TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 LAB-01 VCE-00 NEA-00 NSAE-00
IRM-00 SSO-00 SS-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00 DRL-01 SAS-00
SWCI-00 /002W
------------------3287DF 071000Z /38
O 061415Z FEB 03
FM AMEMBASSY VATICAN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 VATICAN 000483

SIPDIS

DEPT. FOR EUR/WE MENNUTI, S/ES/O, NEA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/06/2013
TAGS: IZ PREL PREL PREL PREL VT VTIZ VTIZ VTIZ
SUBJECT: HOLY SEE REACTION TO SECRETARY'S UNSC
PRESENTATION; POPE TO MEET WITH TARIQ AZIZ FEBRUARY 14

WERE SKEPTICAL BEFORE YESTERDAY ABOUT THE NECESSITY OF DISARMING IRAQ REMAIN SO."" IN THE SAME PAPER, HOWEVER, ANOTHE ANALYST CRITICIZES THE PACIFIST DIRECTION WITHIN HE CHURCH AS LOOKING AT THE WORLD WITH BLINDERS ND IGNORING THE PROBLEMS OF IRAQ.

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PAGE 02 VATICA 00483 02 OF 02 070959Z


COMMENT
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5. (C)AS THE HOLY SEE INTENSIFIES ITS ENGAGEMENT TO AVER
WAR, IT HAS BEGUN TO SHIFT ITS EMPHASIS FROM MOAL ARGUMENTS ABOUT THE MORALITY OF PREVENTIVE WAR(REFTEL) TO MORE PRAGMATIC STRATEGIC ARGUMENTS. COPPOLA CONFIRMED THIS SHIFT, NOTING THAT SECRETARY OF STATE SODANO'S MOST RECENT REMARKS ON THE PRACTICAL IMPACT OF A WAR IN IRAQ -- THAT THE U.S.
WOULD ""RISK IRRITATING A BILLION MUSLIMS"" -- REFLECTED THE VATICAN'S DESIRE TO ENGAGE BEYOND THE MORAL ARGUMENTS TO THE PRACTICAL ARGUMENTS AGAINST WAR. OTHER SENIOR VATICAN OFFICIALS HAVE STEPPED UP CRITICISM OF THE POSSIBILITY OF WAR, THOUGH SOME HAVE ALSO BEEN AT PAINS TO REITERATE THAT THE HOLY SEE IS NOT PACIFIST AND THAT IRAQ MUST RESPECT UN RESOLUTIONS. THE POPE'S MEETING WITH JOSCHKA FISCHER
FEBRUARY 7 -- AT FISCHER'S REQUEST -- REFLECTS THE DEEPENING ENGAGEMENT WE CAN EXPECT FROM THE HOLY SEE AS THE THREAT OF WAR INCREASES. THE HOLY SEE HAS PREVIOUSLY INDICATED TO US THAT IT WAS KEEPING ITS ARROWS IN ITS QUIVER UNTIL ABSOLUTELY NEEDED; IT HAS APPARENTLY DECIDED THAT NOW IS THE TIME TO
PULL THEM OUT. EMBASSY WILL BE ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN THE WEEK AHEAD TO MAKE THE U.S. CASE ON IRAQ WITH THE VISITS OF CATHOLIC SCHOLAR MICHAEL NOVAK, WHO WILL MAKE PRESENTATIONS ON IRAQ AND JUST WAR, AND OF POLICY PLANNING STAFF MEMBER RICHARD ERDMAN, WHO WILL ADDRESS IRAQ ISSUES AND MEET WITH
VATICAN OFFICIALS FEBRUARY 12. DASD BRZEZINSKI WILL ALSO MEET WITH FM TAURAN FEBRUARY 7 TO REINFORCE THE U.S. CASE AGAINST IRAQ.
NICHOLSON

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