Vatican Keeping Embassy Open

From Associated Press

The Vatican said Friday that it had no intention of shutting its embassy in Iraq if war breaks out, although other governments are closing their missions and evacuating staff.

A statement by papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls called it a "time-honored tradition" that Vatican diplomats remain near the people they are serving "even in situations of extreme danger."

A number of embassies in Baghdad are closing and the United Nations is evacuating expatriate staff in expectation of a U.S.-led war to disarm President Saddam Hussein. The Spanish and German governments warned Friday against trips to Iraq and urged their citizens to leave the country.

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