Viewing cable 06VATICAN154
Title: LEBANON: VATICAN PUSHES CEASEFIRE, BUT STAYS POSITIVE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06VATICAN1542006-07-28 15:39:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vatican
VZCZCXRO4228
OO RUEHBC RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHROV #0154/01 2091539
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 281539Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY VATICAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0426
INFO RUCNISL/ISLAMIC CONFERENCE COLLECTIVE
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN 0454
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 VATICAN 000154 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  7/28/2016 
TAGS: PREL VT LE
SUBJECT: LEBANON: VATICAN PUSHES CEASEFIRE, BUT STAYS POSITIVE 
 
REF: (A) VATICAN 0153 (B) VATICAN 0146 AND PREVIOUS 
 
VATICAN 00000154  001.2 OF 003 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Christopher Sandrolini, Charge d'affaires a.i., 
EXEC, State. 
REASON: 1.4 (d) 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Christopher Sandrolini, Charge d'affaires a.i., 
EXEC, State. 
REASON: 1.4 (d) 
 
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Summary 
 
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¶1.  (C)  Holy See FM Lajolo told the Charge July 28 that the 
Vatican still placed top priority on an 
 
immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Lebanon conflict, but also 
acknowledged the good with regard to 
 
the Rome conference.  Lajolo also emphasized "the positive 
aspects" of the summit in his comments 
 
to the media.  In private, Lajolo said he would have liked to 
see at least an appeal for an immediate 
 
ceasefire come out of the summit.  Lajolo recognized the USG's 
efforts to ameliorate the humanitarian 
 
situation, but urged the U.S. to do more to help get the aid to 
the people.  Lajolo noted that the papal 
 
nuncio in Syria enjoyed good access to the Syrian government and 
could be a back channel for the 
 
USG if we desired.  Lajolo thanked the USG for its support for 
the Vatican's participation July 26.  The 
 
Holy See will continue to press for an immediate ceasefire and 
will hold to traditional Vatican views on 
 
war, peace, terrorism, and reprisals -- but having participated 
in the conference, their principals will put a 
 
more positive spin on the diplomatic efforts now underway.  End 
Summary. 
 
----------------------------- 
 
Emphasizing Positive 
 
----------------------------- 
 
¶2.  (C)  Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, the Holy See's Secretary 
for Relations with States (FM-equivalent) told 
 
Charge July 28 that the Vatican still placed top priority on an 
immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Lebanon 
 
conflict, but said he also wanted to emphasize the "positive 
step" represented by the Rome conference.  Lajolo's public 
comments (ref A) have been faithful to this line; when asked if 
the conference had been a "disappointment," he told media 
outlets July 27 that "for the well-informed who understood the 
difficulties [involved], it could perhaps be said that the 
results were significant."  He then went on to "underline the 
positive aspects" of the summit, citing the strong showing of 
international concern about the situation, the discussion of an 
international force, the 
 
commitment of humanitarian aid to the Lebanese, and the 
commitment of conference attendees 
 
to continue to address the issue. 
 
--------------- 
 
Cease-Fire 
 
--------------- 
 
¶3.  (C)  Later in the interview, Lajolo emphasized the need for 
a ceasefire, and noted what he regarded 
 
as the "ambiguity" of the call on Israel to show restraint -- 
adding that only the United States can influence 
 
the Israelis.  He also discussed the suffering of all people 
involved.  Cardinal Secretary of State Sodano 
 
generally took a similar position to Lajolo's in his media 
interviews, describing the summit as a "step forward." 
 
VATICAN 00000154  002.2 OF 003 
 
 
 
He placed somewhat more emphasis on the "disappointment" that 
the summit did not result in an immediate ceasefire.  In his 
meeting with charge, Lajolo agreed that the international 
community had to help create circumstances for a sustainable 
ceasefire, but did not agree that the ceasefire itself should 
wait for the achievement of such conditions.  He said that the 
current situation, with innocent civilians dying and the 
 
Arab world "inflamed", was untenable.  He commented that Israel 
may have underestimated the difficulty of creating a new "order" 
in Lebanon. 
 
------------------------ 
 
Humanitarian Aid 
 
------------------------ 
 
¶4.  (C)  Charge noted the substantial USG commitment of 
humanitarian aid to the region, and Lajolo 
 
recognized the important effort.  He urged the U.S. to ensure 
that the aid gets distributed to those 
 
who need it:  humanitarian corridors had to be aided by efforts 
on the ground to distribute food and other necessities.  Lajolo 
repeated Vatican concerns reported previously by Post about the 
suffering of the 
 
Christian community in Lebanon; he said Christian areas are 
being bombed.  He had been visited this week 
 
by the papal nuncio in Beirut, whom he described as "desperate", 
and who has considerable difficulty in communicating with Rome 
from Lebanon. 
 
-------------------- 
 
Back Channel? 
 
-------------------- 
 
¶5.  (C)  Lajolo noted his belief that Syria must be involved in 
resolving the situation in Lebanon.  He observed 
 
that the papal nuncio in Syria, Archbishop Giovanni Battista 
Morandini, enjoyed unusually good access to the Syrian 
government, and could be a back channel for the USG if we 
desired.  The Holy See has told Damascus that Syria should 
refrain from provocations, avoid responding to provocations, and 
work with the UN to resolve the crisis.  However, the Holy See 
will not make any public calls on Syria.  As for Iran, Lajolo 
said that the 
 
Holy See not heard from that quarter since the Lebanon conflict 
began.  Charge pointed out the useful role that the 
 
Holy See - and Europe in general - could play in pressuring 
these countries to take responsibility for Hezbollah. 
 
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Comment 
 
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¶6.  (C)  Lajolo thanked the USG for its support for the 
Vatican's participation in the summit, and both he 
 
and Sodano have thanked "the organizers" publicly.  The Holy See 
will continue to press for an immediate 
 
ceasefire, but is also aware of the difficulties involved in the 
issue.  Having participated in the conference, 
 
Vatican principals will put a more positive spin on their 
statements about USG diplomatic efforts. 
 
¶7. (C) At the same time, Holy See officials will hold to 
traditional Vatican views on war, peace, terrorism, and 
 
reprisals.  In response to the Charge's emphasis on Hezbollah as 
the real problem in the conflict, Lajolo 
 
agreed. "But we all know Hezbollah are fanatics," he continued. 
"We have to expect a responsible and democratically elected 
government like Israel to take steps that are proportionate to 
the dangers it faces," 
 
he concluded.  Post has reported on the likelihood that the 
views of Sodano and Lajolo on this issue might 
 
 
VATICAN 00000154  003.2 OF 003 
 
 
differ somewhat from those of the pope, and has noted the more 
balanced nature of Benedict's own statements. 
 
It was thus interesting to note today Lajolo's vigorous emphasis 
that the Holy See, including the pope, is of one mind on 
Lebanon, particularly regarding the urgent need for a ceasefire. 
SANDROLINI