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Cheney, pope meet at Vatican

By John King
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

"Work at home and in the world for the growth of international cooperation," the pope told Cheney.

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Cheney signals the Bush administration wants to avoid disagreements with European partners over postwar Iraq.
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Cheney at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
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VATICAN CITY (CNN) -- U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and Pope John Paul II briefly met at the Vatican on Tuesday as both sides worked to play down differences over the war in Iraq.

Cheney presented the pope with a crystal dove, delivering greetings from U.S. President George W. Bush.

Without making direct reference to the war, John Paul told Cheney that in a world "marked with conflict and injustice" it is important that all nations seek international cooperation and work for peace and respect.

"The American people have always cherished the fundamental values of freedom, justice and equity," the pope said in offering his greetings to Cheney and, in turn, to the president.

"I encourage you and your fellow citizens to work at home and in the world for the growth of international cooperation."

The Vatican has been highly critical of the U.S.-led war in Iraq but has softened its tone in recent months.

Cheney also was holding talks with the No. 2 official at the Vatican, Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

On Monday, Cheney sent a clear signal that the Bush administration wants to avoid major disagreements with traditional European partners as the postwar transition in Iraq unfolds and the U.S. presidential campaign moves into a higher gear.

In a speech to college students and political and business leaders in Rome, Cheney thanked Italy for its support and sacrifices in Iraq -- and then spoke in a conciliatory tone about the broader trans-Atlantic alliance. (Full story)

It was the second time in three days Cheney had delivered that message during his European trip.

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