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» 09/05/2013
VATICAN - RUSSIA - SYRIA
Pope tells G20 leaders they "cannot remain indifferent", that they must push for negotiations in Syria
In a letter to Putin, who chairs the group's annual summit, Francis calls on world leaders "to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution". Ambassadors accredited to the Vatican are told that dialogue and Syrian unity are key to resolving the conflict.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - In view of the Syrian tragedy, G20 leaders "cannot remain indifferent," the pope writes. They must "help find ways to overcome the conflicting positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution." They must also "do everything possible to ensure humanitarian assistance to those suffering because of the conflict, both within and beyond the country's borders."

In a letter released today addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, chairman of the G20 summit in St Petersburg, Francis Pope has attempted again to encourage world leaders to find a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis.

In writing this letter, which follows appeals he made in the past few days and a call for a day of prayer and fasting for peace, the pope has decided to extend his efforts to the diplomatic field, which included a briefing in the Vatican today for diplomats accredited to the Holy See stressing the latter's fears and initiatives.

In his letter to Putin, the pope addresses the summit's usual economic issues; however, "the meeting will surely not forget the situation in the Middle East and particularly in Syria."

"It is regrettable," the letter read, "that, from the very beginning of the conflict in Syria, one-sided interests have prevailed and in fact hindered the search for a solution that would have avoided the senseless massacre now unfolding. The leaders of the G20 cannot remain indifferent to the dramatic situation of the beloved Syrian people which has lasted far too long, and even risks bringing greater suffering to a region bitterly tested by strife and needful of peace. To the leaders present, to each and every one, I make a heartfelt appeal for them to help find ways to overcome the conflicting positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution. Rather, let there be a renewed commitment to seek, with courage and determination, a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation of the parties, unanimously supported by the international community. Moreover, all governments have the moral duty to do everything possible to ensure humanitarian assistance to those suffering because of the conflict, both within and beyond the country's borders."

The position of the Holy See on the Syrian crisis was also presented this morning to the ambassadors accredited to the Vatican. In his outline, the Secretary for Relations with States, Mgr Mamberti, emphasised "some elements that the Holy See considers important for a possible plan for the future of Syria."

"Among the general principles that should guide the search for a just solution to the conflict I would focus on three," he said. "First, it is essential to strive for the restoration of dialogue between the parties and the reconciliation of the Syrian people. Second, it is necessary to preserve the unity of the country, avoiding the creation of different zones for the various components of society. Third, and lastly, in addition to unity, the country's territorial integrity must be guaranteed."

In his address, the pope also mentioned the G20's economic agenda. " In today's highly interdependent context, a global financial framework with its own just and clear rules is required in order to achieve a more equitable and fraternal world, in which it is possible to overcome hunger, ensure decent employment and housing for all, as well as essential healthcare. Your presidency of the G20 this year has committed itself to consolidating the reform of the international financial organizations and to achieving a consensus on financial standards suited to today's circumstances. However, the world economy will only develop if it allows a dignified way of life for all human beings, from the eldest to the unborn child, not just for citizens of the G20 member states but for every inhabitant of the earth, even those in extreme social situations or in the remotest places."

"From this standpoint, it is clear that, for the world's peoples, armed conflicts are always a deliberate negation of international harmony, and create profound divisions and deep wounds which require many years to heal. Wars are a concrete refusal to pursue the great economic and social goals that the international community has set itself, as seen, for example, in the Millennium Development Goals. Unfortunately, the many armed conflicts which continue to afflict the world today present us daily with dramatic images of misery, hunger, illness and death. Without peace, there can be no form of economic development. Violence never begets peace, the necessary condition for development."

The pope ended his letter with a request to Putin to pray for him.


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See also
01/23/2014 VATICAN - SYRIA
Geneva II: For the Vatican, dialogue, not war, is the only solution to the Syrian crisis
11/08/2013 RUSSIA - VATICAN
Putin goes to the Pope: On the agenda, the war in Syria and Middle East’s Christians
by Nina Achmatova
11/25/2013 VATICAN - RUSSIA
Middle East and persecution of Christians focus of Pope’s meeting with Putin
09/07/2013 VATICAN
Day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria
08/26/2014 RUSSIA-UKRAINE
Putin and Poroshenko meet in Minsk

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