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Lebanon congratulates Pope Benedict XVI

April 20, 2005 at 9:22 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, April 20 (UPI) -- Lebanese President Emile Lahoud Wednesday congratulated Pope Benedict XVI on his election to succeed John Paul II.

Lahoud sent a cable to the new pope stressing "the attachment of the Lebanese people, both Christians and Muslims, to the strong relations linking them to the Vatican and their commitment to keep Lebanon a country of dialogue between all religions and cultures."

Lebanon's Christian Maronite church also welcomed the election of Joseph Ratzinger of Germany as the new pope.

A statement by the council of Maronite archbishops led by Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir wished the new pope, "who was John Paul II's right-hand man for a quarter of a century, all success in serving the church and humanity."

Patriarch Sfeir, who is also a cardinal, will attend the new pope's inauguration at the Vatican Sunday.

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