VATICAN CITY, Sept 30: Pope John Paul II urged President Pervez Musharraf to work for dialogue and tolerance in the sub-continent during an audience at the Vatican on Thursday.

"In these times of turmoil and violence, I encourage you and your fellow citizens to continue to foster a spirit of dialogue and tolerance in your region," the pope said in an address to the visiting Pakistani leader and his entourage.

"It is only by acknowledging the need for mutual understanding among peoples, through a frank and open exchange of ideas, that the world can obtain true justice and peace," John Paul II added.

The President held a one-to-one meeting with the Pontiff at the Papal Apartment before they were joined by the members of the delegation. The Pope welcomed the President and extended his warm greetings. He thanked him for the kind sentiments, the president expressed on behalf of the people of Pakistan for the Pontiff, a statement released by the Vatican said.

Later, the Pope and President Musharraf were joined by members of the Pakistani delegation. Others, who accompanied President Musharraf during his Vatican visit, included First Lady Begum Sehba Musharraf, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar and Minister of State for Tourism Sumera Malik.

Later, the President held talks with Vatican's Secretary of the State rdinal Angelo Sodano. -Agencies

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