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VATICAN CITY, MAY 10, 2002 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received
the Letters of Credence of Zef Bushati, the new ambassador from the
Republic of Albania, and assured him of his constant prayers that Albania
"may continue faithfully down the road of prosperity and peace, forever
safeguarding mutual respect, dialogue and collaboration between all its

John Paul II affirmed that in order to resolve their current problems,
the people of Albania can call on "their well-known characteristics of
courage and strength," whose champions were the national hero, George
Castriota Skanderbeg, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta, "daughter of the
Albanian people, who rendered honor and glory to her nation and the
Catholic Church."

"As part of the European cultural, historical and geographical framework,
Albania justly aspires to build a constructive dialogue with the other
peoples of the continent; it wishes to contribute actively to building the
common 'European home.' ... The Albanian people want to find their role in
a broader international context, opening up to whole world. However, the
first condition - and at the same time consequence - of this legitimate
ambition is the need for greater internal cohesion and stability, which
will give Albania more credibility before the gathering of nations."

The Holy Father concluded by recalling that one proof of the good
relations between Albania and the Holy See is the recent collaboration
agreement signed between them "with the aim of regularizing their
relations; an agreement that is now awaiting ratification by parliament as
you, Mr. Ambassador, recalled."
CD/.../CREDENCE/ALBANIA VIS 20020510 (260)

Vatican Information Service/Catholic Information Network