Nouri Maliki asks pope to urge Christians to return to Iraq

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Pope Benedict XVI receives a gift from Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri MalikiOsservatore Romano / EPA
Pope Benedict XVI receives a gift from Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.
The prime ministers, on a European trip, also invites Benedict XVI to visit Iraq.
By Ned Parker and Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
July 26, 2008
BAGHDAD — Prime Minister Nouri Maliki asked Pope Benedict XVI in a meeting Friday in Italy to encourage Iraqi Christians who have fled their country to return, citing the improved security situation. He also invited the pontiff to visit Iraq.

“I . . . appealed to his holiness to encourage Christians who left the country to go back and be part of the social structure of Iraq again,” Maliki told reporters after his session with the pope at the pontiff’s summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-popeiraq26-2008jul26,0,1416679.story