Muslim-Catholic Talks Underway In Vatican City

Vatican City: Senior Muslim representatives and Vatican officials are set to meet this week, a move they hope will give way to a larger Catholic-Islamic meeting.

The meeting between five representatives from each side will commence in Rome on Tuesday and will last two days to discuss the details of a high profile meeting which will include Pope Benedict late this year.

The vice president of the Italian Islamic Religious Community, Yahya Sergio Yahe Pallavicini said, “We have to bring the dialogue up to date following the great successes of the pontificate of John Paul II,” adding that a greater need for deeper dialogue on various issues concerning religion exists.

The Muslim delegation to these preparatory talks will include a Turk, a Briton, a Jordanian and a Libyan.

Catholic-Muslim relations have been tense ever since a 2006 speech made by Pope Benedict that criticised Islam.

These talks are an attempt to bring greater understanding and facilitate dialogue between the two groups.