PrintEmail This Page
Official Visit to Vatican - January 2001
His Holiness Pope John Paul II affirmed that ‘Lebanon suffered a lot and it is about time to alleviate its suffering’. ‘I will continue to pray and work until Lebanon’s suffering and the Lebanese endurance end’, he declared. For his part, Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi underlined his country’s support for Lebanon’s call for a just and global peace in the region, affirming Italy’s permanent support for Lebanon on the economic and developmental levels.

These stances were made during the talks held by Fares, Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, and the accompanying delegation in the Holy See and with the Italian President. The talks were also followed by a gathering with Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini.

First on the agenda was a 20-minute closed-door meeting between Fares, President Lahoud, and His Holiness Pope John II who was quoted as saying, ‘I have full confidence in the great potential of the Lebanese people. The Lebanese citizen was able to live harmoniously in his atmosphere because he is a believer and an intelligent human being. He plays a primordial role in the region. I raise hope for the conditions to enable the Lebanese compatriots to attain all the goals at which they aspire’.

The closed-door session with His Holiness touched upon Lebanon’s suffering and the message it represents

Following the closed-door session, His Holiness received Deputy Prime Minister with his wife Mrs. Hala Fares and their daughter Miss Noor Fares, giving them his benediction. Mrs. Andre Lahoud, Mr. Ralph Lahoud, Lebanon’s Ambassador and his wife, and the members of the accompanying delegation all joined the Fareses, seeking the blessing of His Holiness The Pope.

The Fareses at the Holy See receiving the benediction of His Holiness Pope John Paul II

Later, President Lahoud moved with Fares and Ambassador Aoun for a meeting with Cardinal Angelo Sodano the Secretary Emeritus of the Secretariat of State in which took part the Vatican’s Foreign Minister Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran. Discussions focused upon the regional juncture and the international developments. During the meeting, Cardinal Sodano emphasized the importance of the Apostolic Nuncio regarding the role by the Christians in Lebanon and the Levant and announced the Vatican’s support for the peace process in the region. The reunion provided the chance to affirm the special ties and strong bonds between Lebanon and the Apostolic See.

Later, Fares, the Lebanese President, and the accompanying delegation raised issues with Cardinal Sodano and Archbishop Tauran. Topics revolved around issues of joint interest and concern.

Mr. Issam Fares& his wife Mrs. Hala meet Cardinal Angelo Sodano

Fares had embarked on his visit to Rome with the Lebanese President by holding a meeting with Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. The Lebanese delegation expressed to President Ciampi its thanks for Italy’s support of Lebanon in the regional and international tribunes, mainly under the critical conjuncture Lebanon faced, and for the generous assistance proffered by the Italian Government in various arenas.

Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi welcomes Lebanon’s Deputy Prime Minister

Later, Fares attended the meeting held at the Lebanese President’s residence with visiting Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini who paid a visit. The meeting took place in presence of Sayyed, Lebanon’s Ambassador to Rome Samir el-Khoury, and a number of Dini’s aides. Talks broached the situation in the Middle East and the Italian-Lebanese cooperation in the economic, developmental, and educational fields. Foreign Minister Dini affirmed Italy’s commitments toward Lebanon, expressing the Italian Government’s willingness to increase aid to Lebanon within the next couple of years.

In the evening, Ambassador Aoun threw a dinner banquet in honor of Fares, President Lahoud, and the accompanying delegation at his residence in Rome.