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Sunday, 11 January, 1998, 11:55 GMT
Pope speaks out on Algeria and Iraq

Pope John Paul II has strongly condemned the massacres in Algeria.

In his New Year address to the diplomatic corps in the Vatican, the head of the Roman Catholic Church said that no political or religious motivation could legitimise the violence in Algeria.

The Pope added that to kill in God's name was to misuse the divine name and blaspheme.

The pontiff also criticised international sanctions against Iraq for penalising ordinary Iraqis, deplored the stalling of the Middle East peace process and said that the world must not forget the plight of Kurds.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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