11/04/2007, 00.00
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Pope urges peace between Turkey and Kurdistan, also for the many Christian refugees there

Benedict XVI recalls “all those in charge of security and integration” to “use those means at their disposal which guarantee the rights and duties which are the foundations of true coexistence and understanding between peoples”.

Vatican City  (AsiaNews) – The Pope has asked that there be peace between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan, a region in which many people, including many Christians have found refuge from the violence which torments Iraq.  He also expressed his hope for good relations between refugees and residents and asked that “all those in charge of security and integration” guarantee the rights and duties which are at the basis of all true coexistence. 

The current tensions between Turkey and Iraq, which threatens to overflow into full blown invasion by Ankara’s army in the hunt for PKK Kurdish rebels was highlighted today by Benedict XVI during his angelus address before a crowd of almost 50 thousand people who filled St Peter’s square.

“The news of current events in the region bordering Turkey and Iraq – he said following the recitation of the Marian prayer – our reason for grave concern, for me and many others.  Therefore I wish to encourage all efforts to reach a peaceful solution to these recent problems which have emerged between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan.  I cannot forget – he added – that in that very region scores of people have sought refuge from the insecurity and terrorism which have made life in Iraq very difficult in these years.  In fact in consideration of those peoples good, population which includes numerous Christians, it is my fervent hope that both parties opt for a peaceful solution. Moreover I also hope that the relations between migrant populations and the local people develop in a spirit of high moral civility, which is fruit of those spiritual and cultural values of every people and every nation.  Those who re in charge of security and integration – he concluded - must use those means at their disposal which guarantee the rights and duties which are the foundations of true coexistence and understanding between peoples ".

Before reciting the Angelus, the Pope reflected on the episode in today’s Gospel between Jesus and Zacchaeus, whose life was completely changed by that encounter.  “Once again – he commented – the Gospel tells us that love, starting from the very heart of God and working through the heart of man, is the force which renews the world”.  The life of St Charles Borromeo was exemplary of this, whose feast day is celebrated today.  “Recalling my venerated predecessor John Paul II, who devoutly carried his name, today is his saint’s day – he concluded – we entrust the bishops of the world to the intercession of St Charles, invoking on them the heavenly protection of Mary most Holy, Mother of the Church”.


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