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Pope refuses to meet Rice: report

Pope Benedict XVI refuses to meet US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in August, saying he was on holiday, a newspaper reports.

world Updated: Sep 19, 2007 18:56 IST

Pope Benedict XVI refused to meet US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in August, saying he was on holiday, an Italian newspaper reported on Wednesday.



Rice "made it known to the Vatican that she absolutely had to meet the pope" to boost her diplomatic "credit" ahead of a trip to the Middle East, the

Corriere della Sera

daily reported without citing its sources.



She was hoping to meet the pontiff at his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo at the beginning of August, it said.



"'The pope is on holiday' was the official response," the paper said.



It said the reply "illustrated the divergence of view" between the Vatican and the White House about the "initiatives of the Bush administration in the Middle East".



The newspaper said the pope had rejected all meetings with political representatives during August.