Source: Catholic News Service
On November 4, 2004 Catholic News Service reported, "Pope John Paul II encouraged Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to pursue democracy and religious freedom in his country and told him he prayed for the victims of terrorism and violence there. The pope met with Allawi, his wife, Thana, and members of the Iraqi interim government in a private audience at the Vatican Nov. 4. It was Allawi's first visit to the Vatican since he took over from the U.S.-led provisional government in June. 'I wish to encourage efforts made by the Iraqi people to establish democratic institutions which will be truly representative and committed to defending the rights for all,' the pope said in written remarks read by an aide, 'in complete respect for the ethnic and religious diversity which has always been a source of enrichment for your country.'"