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Monday, September 01 2014 @ 09:40 AM EDT

The President of Panama Meets With The Archbishop of Panama After Violence in National Assembly Yesterday

Panama NewsPresident Ricardo Martinelli met with the Archbishop of Panama, Monsignor José Domingo Ulloa, after asking for mediation by the Church yesterday in a national dialogue, following the the unrest in the National Assembly over the rejection of bills to sell state owned shares in the electric companies and the Cable & Wireless telephone company, and the appointment of the judges of the Fifth Chamber. Ulloa came to the presidency at 9:40 am, and left about two hours later. After the meeting, President Martinelli reiterated his commitment to introduce legislation to permanently repeal the Fifth Chamber, and to send the bills that would allow for the sale of state owned shares in privatized companies to the National Coalition.

Martinelli said he would choose peace and not confrontation, while regretting "the desecration in the Assembly where there were scuffles, and where they put a mannequin, where a minority prevailed and caused chaos."

For his part, Monsignor José Domingo confirmed that the President was willing to talk and he called them and talked about these issues. Ulloa said they touched, both as a Panamanian as as the Church, on his concerns over the fighting yesterday and called on Panamanians to avoid confrontation as brothers. Monsignor Ulloa called for the rescue of the sacredness of institutions, and said these types of attacks cannot be permitted.

About the march announced for 4 o'clock in the afternoon today, Ulloa made a call for sanity and nonviolence, and he said in a democracy it is a right to protest, but with respect. In May 2011, the President and Bishop Ulloa also met to realize a national dialog on freedom of expression. (TVN)

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