Pope Calls for Immediate Renewal of Mideast Peace Talks

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 5, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II today severely condemned the violence in the Middle East and called on the international community to help Israelis and Palestinians renew negotiations.

"I feel the need to express my most heartfelt sympathy for the new victims of the absurd violence that continues to bloody the Middle East region," the Pontiff said before bidding farewell to the 10,000 pilgrims present at the general audience in Paul VI Hall.

"Once again I repeat with an afflicted spirit that violence never resolves conflicts but, on the contrary, increases the tragic consequences," the Holy Father added.

He then made "a new and urgent appeal to the international community to help Israelis and Palestinians, with increasing determination and courage, to break this futile spiral of death."

Raising his voice, John Paul II concluded: "may negotiations be renewed immediately so that the longed-for peace can finally be attained."