Mubarak and Pope Benedict XVI hold talks in Rome

Pope Benedict XVI and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak held talks at the Vatican Monday evening about Iran, Iraq and the prospects for lasting peace in the Middle East, the Holy See said. Benedict and Mubarak had a cordial, half-hour session, said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls. "The meeting allowed them to review questions dealing with the prospects for a lasting peace in the Middle East," Navarro-Valls said in a statement. "There was a deep exchange of ideas about the situation in Iraq and also a look at the issues regarding" Iran, he said without giving details. Egypt's semiofficial Middle East News Agency said without detail that Benedict and Mubarak discussed "recent regional developments" as well as dialogue between civilizations and respect for religion. Both sides also noted the "good relations" between the Vatican and Cairo and reviewed interreligious relations in Egypt, the Vatican spokesman said.