Mideast Peace Requires Restart of Dialogue, Says Pope

Calls on the World Community to Exert Pressure

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II says the international community has the responsibility to exert pressure to rekindle Palestinian-Israeli dialogue in order to halt the "infernal cycle" of Mideast violence.



The Pope spoke out again today about the "terrible conflict that continues to crush" the Holy Land, when he received the credentials of Naji Abi Assi, Lebanon's new ambassador to the Holy See.

"The international community cannot flee from its responsibilities with the pretext of other urgencies, but must assume them courageously," the Holy Father said.

The world community must invite "all the parties in dispute, especially Israelis and Palestinians, to renew the dialogue without delay to provide the means that will put an end to the infernal cycle of reciprocal violence," he added.

"This is the necessary condition for a global solution of the conflict which must involve all the countries of the region," the Pope said.

"A lasting peace will not be able to be re-established in this region without political courage, without the firm determination to recognize the rights of all, including those of the adversary, in order to undertake with him the path to peace, in respect of justice," the Holy Father continued.

This also calls for "acceptance of recourse to mutual forgiveness to heal the terrible wounds inflicted by mutual violence during such long years at the cost of so many broken lives," he said.

The Pope concluded: "May political leaders listen to this appeal to work actively and without delay to renew ties, at the service of the long-awaited re-establishment of peace!"