Vatican: pope Beirut trip still on despite clashes

The Vatican says preparations for the pope's trip to Lebanon next month are continuing despite fighting spilling over from Syria into a major Lebanese city.

Vatican Radio said Friday that work is proceeding for Benedict XVI's Sept. 14-16 visit to Lebanon's capital, Beirut, "despite the climate of growing tension" in Lebanon.

Bloody clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime have broken out in Tripoli, in the country's north. Lebanon-based Monsignor Georges Masri told Vatican Radio that the clashes are not impacting on the pope's visit to Beirut, which is some 100 kilometers (65 miles) to the south.

Separately, a top Vatican official, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, told reporters at a conference in Rimini, Italy, that the pilgrimage remains confirmed.