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Rome Reports

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How much diplomatic weight does the Pope have?

The Holy See is the smallest state in the world. Even so, it has roughly 180 ambassadors from all over the world assigned to it. The question is, how much diplomatic weight does the Pope and the Vatican actually have?  CARDINAL PETER TURKSON  Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace "The involvement of the Holy See in mediating in fostering peace is not new, itâ??s not new.â? The announcement of the Pope's trip to Cuba, has once again put a spot light on the Vatican's diplomatic pull. President Obama and Cuban leader, Raul Castro said the Pope played a key role in easing the ties between their nations.   The influence of the Church on a local and global level can deal with a series of issues. From the violence of drug gangs in El Salvador all the way  the instability of Venezuela and its government. In Asia, Catholics are a minority, but still the social influence of the Church is present.  CARDINAL PETER TURKSON  Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace "Just last week I was in Bangkok and I had to deal with the role of the Holy See in peace keeping, reconciliation and mediation.â? The Middle East has turned into a growing priority for the Holy See, especially with the persecution of Christians, most prominently in Iraq and its surrounding territories.  When it comes to influence, the Pope expressed support for the beginning stages of the nuclear agreement between the U.S and Iran. In fact, the American Under Secretary for Arms Control talked about why her team included the Vatican in their diplomatic tour.  ROSE GOTTEMOELLER Under Secretary for Arms Control (USA)  "The Vatican is among them. The Church has significant teachings on nuclear deterrence and nuclear disarmament so itâ??s a natural leader in this arena.â? After the United States, the Holy See is actually the second country with the most official diplomatic relations with other nations and organizations. It also has a presence in the UN with a status of Permanent Observer.  KLH  AA -JM -PR Up:GRT