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VATICAN-ARABLEAGUE Apr-23-2009 (210 words) xxxi

Vatican, Arab League sign new agreement to promote peace, dialogue

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican and the 22-member League of Arab States have signed an agreement to strengthen joint projects to promote peace and dialogue, especially on a political and cultural level.

The official memorandum of understanding was signed April 23 at the Vatican by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states, and Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League.

The Vatican press office said Pope Benedict XVI would meet privately with Moussa, a former foreign minister of Egypt, at the Vatican the evening of April 24.

According to a Vatican statement, the new agreement "further consolidates the bonds of collaboration existing between the Holy See and the League of Arab States, especially on a political and cultural level in favor of peace, security and regional and international stability."

The agreement also "proposes instruments of consultation between the two parties with attention also to initiatives of interreligious dialogue," the statement said.

The Vatican and the League of Arab States, most of which are found in the Middle East and North Africa, began exchanging diplomatic representatives in 2000.

The Arab League is a forum for member nations to address common concerns and settle disputes, formulate common policies and promote economic and cultural programs.

END


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