In his first meeting with a senior U.S. official since the war in Iraq, Pope John Paul II told Vice President Dick Cheney that the United States should work for greater international cooperation.

The Vatican news agency says the pope told Mr. Cheney that in a world marked by what he called conflict, injustice and division, Americans should work for the growth of international cooperation.

The pope, who opposed the war in Iraq, received the U.S. vice-president for a private 15-minute meeting in the Vatican library.

In their brief talks, the pope urged Mr. Cheney to ensure that the fundamental values of freedom, justice and equality, which Americans have always cherished, are used to achieve peace in the world.

The Pope has been calling for respect of international law while acknowledging that terrorism poses a threat. In a recent speech to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican, he said war does not resolve conflicts. But the pope also said that now Iraqis are free from what he called a regime that oppressed them.

During his current European trip, Mr. Cheney has stressed the need for democracies to work together to deter terrorism.

Italy has been strongly supportive of the United States. Mr. Cheney met with the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Monday and called him a close friend and a source of wise counsel.

Vice-president Cheney was also meeting with U.S. troops at bases in Italy, some of whom have recently returned from Iraq.