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Egypt recalls its Vatican ambassador.

VATICAN CITY * Egypt recalled its ambassador to the Vatican Jan. 11 in the wake of her government's displeasure with Pops Benedict XVI's appeal to the country to protect Christians.

In an address to diplomats Jan, 10, Benedict had recalled the-Dec. 31 bomb attack on a Coptic Orthodox church in Alexandria that left 23 people dead.

He said the Alexandria bombing and attacks on Christians in Iraq were "yet another sign of the urgent need for the governments of the region to adopt, in spite of difficulties and dangers, effective measures for the protection of religious minorities."

Hossam Zaki, Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman, said the pope's statement represented "an unacceptable interference in its internal affairs" and announced it ordered Ambassador Lamia Aly Hamada Mekhemar to return to Cairo "for consultation."

The Vatican's foreign minister met with Mekhemar before she left for Cairo.

The Vatican said that during the meeting between Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, whose formal title is secretary for relations with states, and Mekhe-mar, she expressed the Egyptian government's concerns "at this present difficult moment, and she was able to receive information and gather useful details in order to properly report on the Holy Father's recent speeches, in-particular on religious liberty and the protection of Christians in the Middle East."

--Catholic News Service

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Title Annotation:Lamia Aly Hamada Mekhemar; WORLD
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:7EGYP
Date:Jan 21, 2011
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