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Vatican: Pope 'to meet top Syrian opposition leader'

last update: September 18, 17:07

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Vatican City, 18 Sept. (AKI) - Pope Benedict XVI will on Saturday meet one of the Syrian opposition's top leaders at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo outside Rome, Adnkronos has learned.

George Saba, member of Syrian National Council, of which he is a spokesman, will be one of 120 delegates to a gathering of international Christian democrats, who will be received by the Pope.

Saba's attendence at the gathering, follows a request delivered by the papal envoy in Lebanon, Monsignor Gabriele Caccia, during the pontiff's three-day visit to the country last week.

During his visit to Italy, Saba will also meet with other senior Vatican officials, according to information obtained by Adnkronos.

Benedict made an impassioned appeal for peace in Syria during an open-air mass in Beirut on Sunday, the last day of his visit to Lebanon.

The pontif urged nations especially Arab countries to halt the "grim trail of death and destruction" plaguing Syria and the Middle East.

His appeal came amid stalled international efforts to end the 18-month conflict between Syrian rebels and forces loyal to authoritarian president Bashar al-Assad that has escalated into a civil war in which over 20,000 have been killed according to the UN.


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