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Franciscan Friary
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BETHLEHEM UPDATE 21.04.2002

(free translation of italian original text)

At the General Curia in Rome, the General Government of the Order of the Friars Minor, has received today, the visit of the Palestinian Representative in Italy. In the cordial and frank meeting, it has been expressed to the Palestinian Representative the extreme worry of the Order of the Friars Minor in front of the prolonged intolerable situation in the Sanctuary of the Nativity in Bethlehem and in its adjacenct buildings, comprised the church and the Convent of the Franciscan Friars, and that of the Franciscan Nuns who are with them.

The Palestinian Rappresentative has been asked to transmit to President Arafat the request to do all that is possible in order to find a pacific solution augured by the Order since the beginning of the crisis about twenty days ago.

In particular, echoing the words of the open letter addressed to President Arafat by some Bishops and Italian Communes, President Arafat is asked, through his Representative, " to withdraw every reserve and every obstacle that there can be for the immediate beginning of the negotiations, even if they were the most just and most comprehensible requirements ". All this because" the most serious conditions in which the friars, the Franciscan nuns, the Greek and Armenian monks, many co-citizens [ of the President ] that are holed in the Holy Place, and the same Sanctuary, find themselves. These conditions do not allow to extend the torment for non substantial requirements and not directly related to the essence of the so much aspired peaceful solution.

Among other things they discussed also the possible peaceful solution which is in the hands of the Parties to discuss and accept.

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