French president pledges cooperation with Vatican on Iraq war in letter to pope

President Jacques Chirac praised the Vatican's opposition to the war in Iraq in a letter to Pope John Paul II, pledging to work together in support of international law.

In the letter, published Monday in the French Catholic newspaper la Croix, Chirac said the pope's efforts were aimed "at preserving the chance for peace until the last moment."

"The community of nations should unite its efforts in the forum of the United Nations for the sake of safeguarding and respecting the law," Chirac said.

"We should be watchful that the Iraqi conflict doesn't feed the antagonisms between civilizations and religions," Chirac wrote in the letter, dated Friday.

France led the opposition to the war in the U.N. Security Council, helping to block a U.S.-backed resolution that would have authorized military action.

John Paul has also denounced the war. The pope, who had lobbied against the war and in favor of a negotiated solution, said on Saturday that the fighting threatened the "fate of humanity."

"The Holy See and France should continue to work together to make sure the law, justice and dialogue between peoples prevail," Chirac wrote.