Pope for peace in world's troubled spots

Pope for peace in world's troubled spots

Pope Benedict XVI appealed for peace and reconciliation around the world, singling out Syria, Mali and Nigeria in his Easter Sunday message before 100,000 faithful in Saint Peter’s square.

He also condemned discrimination and persecution of Christians in general, saying: “Christ is hope and comfort in a particular way for those Christian communities suffering most for their faith.”

On Syria, he urged an end to the bloodshed and commitment to dialogue to end almost 13 months of deadly violence there, as part of a wider appeal to give hope to the entire West Asia.

“May the risen Christ grant hope to the West Asia and enable all the ethnic, cultural and religious groups in that region to work together to advance the common good and respect for human rights,” he said in his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” message.

“Particularly in Syria, may there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation, as called for by the international community,” he said.

The pontiff also voiced hope that refugees fleeing the crisis in Syria who are in need of humanitarian assistance are given help to relieve “their dreadful sufferings”. Turning to Iraq, he encouraged the people to “spare no effort in pursuing the path of stability and development.”

In a general appeal for the Christian communities of the African continent, he called on God to “grant them hope in facing their difficulties and make them peacemakers and agents of development in the societies to which they belong.”

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