ZENIT News Agency, The World Seen from Rome  

Pontiff Warns of "Dark Forces" in Lebanon

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI condemned the assassination of Lebanon's industry minister, and warned its citizens of "the dark forces who are trying to destroy the country."

Pierre Gemayel, 34, a Maronite Christian and member of the Phalange party, was shot dead on Tuesday in Beirut. His father, Amine Gemayel, was president of Lebanon from 1982-1988.

At the end of today's general audience, Benedict XVI firmly condemned "this brutal attack" and assured his prayers and "spiritual closeness to the family in mourning and to the beloved Lebanese people."

"In the face of the dark forces that seek to destroy the country, I invite all Lebanese not to allow themselves to be overcome by hatred, but to reinforce national unity, justice and reconciliation, and to work together to build a future of peace," said the Pope.

The Holy Father invited "leaders of the nations that have the fate of this region at heart to contribute to finding a global negotiated solution to the various situations of injustice that have existed for too many years."