Pope John Paul II said Saturday he prays every day for Libya "and above all for President Gadhafi."

The pope made the statement before Vatican reporters at the conclusion of a private audience with Maj. Abdessalam Jalloud, No. 2 man to Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi."I want you to assure the Libyan people that I pray every day for Libya and above all for President Gadhafi," the pope said.

Thanking Jalloud for his visit, John Paul added, "I bless the Libyan people."

Jalloud, on an official visit to Italy since Thursday, was accompanied to the audience in the pope's private apartment by Libyan Ambassador to Italy Abdul Rahman Shalgam and two aides.