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Vatican: Pope Beirut Trip Still On Despite Clashes

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(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican says preparations for the pope's trip to Lebanon next month are continuing despite fighting spilling over from Syria into a major Lebanese city.

Vatican Radio said Friday that work is proceeding for Benedict XVI's Sept. 14-16 visit to Lebanon's capital, Beirut, `'despite the climate of growing tension" in Lebanon.

Bloody clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime have broken out in Tripoli, in the country's north. Lebanon-based Monsignor Georges Masri told Vatican Radio that the clashes are not impacting on the pope's visit to Beirut, which is some 100 kilometers (65 miles) to the south.

Separately, a top Vatican official, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, told reporters at a conference in Rimini, Italy, that the pilgrimage remains confirmed.

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