The arrival of Cardinal Antonio Samore in Argentina on Tuesday brought renewed hopes that the long border dispute between Argentina and Chile might be solved peacefully.
Pope John Paul's decision to send Cardinal Samore as a peace envoy was announced just before Christmas and followed a request from the presidents of both countries. Earlier the bishops in Argentina and Chile had made attempts to mediate and Cardinal Raul Primatesta, president of the Argentinian bishops' conference, had visited the Vatican after a meeting with President Jorge Videla.
The new initiative has opened the way for new discussions about the dispute which concerns three islands in the Beagle Channel at the southern tip of the Americas. Previous attempts to solve it have failed and armed forces from both sides have taken part in military exercises.
An Argentinian government minister said that he expected some progress to be made by the end of the year towards a solution "within the spirit befitting two sister nations committed to brotherhood".
Cardinal Samore's task is to collect information about the situation to enable the Pore to propose possible solution,.