Syria: Benedict XVI's call for dialogue "should be well received"
Christian authorities of the country believe Benedict XVI’s Angelus appeal will contribute to dialogue. Clashes and deaths yesterday in Deir ez Zor and other cities. Saudi Arabia recalls its ambassador. The concern of Melkite Archbishop Jeanbart: "The opposition is an angry and fanatical opposition, fundamentalist Muslims, and all it want is to sink the regime."
Aleppo (AsiaNews) - The appeal launched yesterday by Benedict XVI to Syria "is a call that should be well-received", in the opinion of Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo, Jean Clement Jeanbart. Speaking to AsiaNews he says : "It 'an appeal which can be well received, because it does not incriminate, and does not judge anyone. It is a good appeal. It indicates an openness to reconciliation and dialogue. " (07/08/2011 Pope appeals for reconciliation and peace in Syria and Libya). And even Catholic sources in Damascus offer a positive assessment on the possibility that the words of Benedict XVI will have a positive impact on the situation of the country, "he is appealing to everyone, he does not claim that some are right and others wrong, he does not take sides for or against the government or opposition, but asks people to talk, not to shoot. It is a good appeal”. We must now wait and see, say Catholic sources in Damascus, whether "the local media will report it and if our young people read from foreign sources, so it still early to assess the impact of the Pope's words."
The situation in the country remains tense. Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador to Damascus today, King Abdullah has announced in a statement read on state television. "What is happening in Syria is not acceptable to Saudi Arabia - said the king, despite the fact he stifled in the bud similar demands for democracy in his country - Syria must think wisely before it is too late and promote and implement reforms that are not only promises, but real reform. " The Arab League has called for an immediate end to violence. The Assad government has decreed the end of emergency rule in force for half a century, and has promoted a law promising multiparty elections later this year. But the violence shows no sign of ending. According to sources not independently verifiable dozens of people have died in Deir ez Zor and Hula, near Homs yesterday.
In this bleak picture arouse Benedict XVI’s appeal yesterday. "The Pope calls for a concerted solution of dialogue and peace, and to relinquish weapons and violence - declares Mgr. Jeanbart -. I think it's a call which everyone who is trying to ensure that the solution is peaceful here in the country would agree with". The Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo says again: "We need to be careful because the media broadcast negative images of the situation in Syria. There is violence, but it is mainly armed gangs that cause the violence by provoking the security services. They often intervene at the request of the population who are fed up. It must be said that there is also this. You can not say that the regime has not changed, it has done many things, made some improvements, it has decreed liberalizing laws, an end to the state of emergency, many political prisoners were released, there is a law for the multi- party system, and a new law for elections. It is not to defend the government, but they are things that cannot be done overnight. When you've had an almost totalitarian regime for decades, you must allow time for change to take root. The reforms are on the horizon, I do not know if they will be realized so soon as we'd like, but there is certainly a change. "
This is also why the Pope's words can be a contribution in the right direction: "It is an appeal which can be well received, because it does not incriminate, and does not judge anyone. It 's a good call. It indicates an openness to reconciliation and dialogue. " The prelate does not hide the difficulties: "I am very worried, because the opposition is an angry and fanatical opposition, fundamentalist Muslims, and all it wants is to sink the regime. And what would happen then, no-one knows. We see that the opponents are supported by Al Qaeda and Saudi Arabia, and countries that have a vested interest in allowing the Muslim Brotherhood to get hold of the situation and govern, and this would be very serious for the Christians, there would be an exodus, as in Iraq. And even then Lebanon would follow the same path".