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Monday, July 26, 2004


VATICAN CITY, JUL 25, 2004 (VIS) - Pope John Paul, in remarks made to the faithful who joined him today at Castelgandolfo to pray the Angelus, called for prayers for the peoples of regions of Uganda and Sudan, that have been marked by years of violent conflicts, and asked the international community "not to forget these brothers and sisters of ours who have been so sorely tried."

  "During these days of relaxation and rest," he said, "my thoughts turn often to the dramatic conditions of several regions of the world. Today, in particular, I would like to draw your attention to the tragic events that have marked for some time several countries of the beloved African continent."

  "For more than 18 years the north of Uganda has been devastated by an inhuman conflict that has involved millions of people, above all children. Many of them, overcome by fear and deprived of a future, feel forced to become soldiers. I turn to the international community and to the national political leaders to put an end to this tragic conflict and to offer real prospects for peace to the entire nation of Uganda."

  The Holy Father then turned to "the equally worrisome situation in which the dear populations of Darfur, the western region of the Sudan, on the border with Chad, find themselves. The war, which has intensified in recent months, brings with it ever more poverty, desperation and death. Twenty years of harsh conflicts in Sudan have caused an enormous number of deaths and refugees. How can we remain indifferent? I appeal with all my heart to political leaders and to international organizations not to forget these brothers and sisters of ours who have been so harshly tried."

  In closing, the Pope noted that "the Christian community is involved in facing these emergencies. In Uganda, the bishops, assisted by other dioceses in the world and by volunteer organizations, work with generosity for national reconciliation and to help those in difficulty. And just days ago I sent Archbishop Paul Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum' to Darfur to bring to the people the spiritual and  material solidarity of the Holy See and the universal Church."

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