ZENIT News Agency, The World Seen from Rome  

Pontiff: Mideast Proves Armed Conflict Gains Nothing
Appeals to All Parties Involved in the Region

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 8, 2006 (Zenit.org).- As the situation in the Middle East has shown, says Benedict XVI, "armed solutions achieve nothing."

On meeting with ambassadors accredited to the Holy See today, the Pope renewed his appeal "to all parties involved in the complex political chessboard of the region, hoping for a consolidation of the positive signs noted in recent weeks between Israelis and Palestinians."

The Holy Father said: "The Holy See will never tire of reiterating that armed solutions achieve nothing, as we saw in Lebanon this summer.

"The future of that country depends upon the unity of all its components, and upon fraternal relations between its different religious and social groupings."

The Pontiff said: "This would constitute a message of hope for all. It is no longer possible to be satisfied with partial or unilateral solutions."

Global approach

"In order to put an end to the crisis and to the sufferings it causes among the population, a global approach is needed, which excludes no one from the search for a negotiated settlement, taking into account the legitimate interests and aspirations of the different peoples involved," the Bishop of Rome continued.

Benedict XVI added: "The Lebanese have a right to see the integrity and sovereignty of their country respected; the Israelis have a right to live in peace in their state; and the Palestinians have a right to a free and sovereign homeland."

"When each of the peoples in the region sees that its expectations are taken into consideration and thus feels less threatened, then mutual trust will be strengthened," he said.

"This trust will grow if a country like Iran, especially in relation to its nuclear program, agrees to give a satisfactory response to the legitimate concerns of the international community," the Pope stated.

"Steps taken in this direction surely help to stabilize the whole region, especially Iraq, putting an end to the appalling violence which disfigures that country with bloodshed," Benedict XVI continued, "and offering an opportunity to work for reconstruction and reconciliation between all its inhabitants."