Vatican Cites "Grave Responsibility" of U.S. Ultimatum to Iraq

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 18, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See's first public reaction to George W. Bush's 48-hour ultimatum to the Iraqi regime was a two-line statement stressing the "grave responsibility" of this decision.



"Whoever decides that all peaceful means made available by international law have been exhausted, assumes a grave responsibility before God, his conscience and history," said Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls.

Today, Saddam Hussein defied the U.S. ultimatum to leave Iraq with his sons or face war, the Associated Press reported.

On Sunday, John Paul II said, "There is still room for peace; it is never too late to come to an understanding and to continue discussions."

"To reflect on one's duties, to engage in energetic negotiations does not mean to be humiliated, but to work with responsibility for peace," he said.