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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Holy See in the United Nations: peace must be negotiated in the Middle EastOther Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 29 October 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations in New York participated in the Security Council Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine question. The nuncio's address, structured in six points, focuses on the Holy See's conviction that peace in the Middle East may be achieved only through negotiation and not by unilateral decisions imposed by force.

“As regards the Israeli-Palestinian question, the Holy See reiterates its support for a two State solution”, he affirmed. “Israel and Palestine, with the vigorous support of the competent organs of the United Nations and of the whole international community, must work toward the final objective, which is the realisation of the right of the Palestinians to have their own State, sovereign and independent, and of the right of the Israelis to peace and security”.

“As regards the horrific situation in Syria”, he continued, “the Holy See urgently calls on all parties to stop the massive violations of international humanitarian law and fundamental human rights, and on the international community to help the parties find a solution. There is no other way to alleviate and put an end to the untold sufferings of the entire nation, where half of its population needs humanitarian assistance and around a third has been displaced”.

With regard to Lebanon, “the Holy See calls for international solidarity, at this time that the country is gravely affected by the Syrian crisis and by the massive presence of refugees, and exhorts Lebanon to find a solution as soon as possible to the vacancy of the Presidency of the Republic. The Holy See reaffirms its support for a sovereign and free Lebanon. Lebanon is a 'message', a 'sign' full of hope for the coexistence of the various groups that form it”.

Turning to the “grave violations and abuses committed by the so-called 'Islamic State' in Iraq and Syria, the competent organs of the United Nations must act to prevent possible new genocides and to assist the increasing number of refugees. The Holy See appeals in particular for the protection of the ethnic and religious groups, including the Christian communities, who are specifically targeted and victimised because of their ethnic origins and religious beliefs. The Holy See insists on the respect of the right of these communities and all the displaced persons to return to their homes and to live in dignity and safety”.

“The Holy See hopes that the United Nations take the escalating, ruthless phenomenon of international terrorism as an occasion to urgently re-enforce the international juridical framework of a multilateral application of the responsibility to protect people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and all forms of unjust aggression. With lessons learned from our failure to stop recent horrors of genocide and presently confronted with blatant, massive violations of fundamental human rights and of international humanitarian law, the time is for courageous decisions”, urged the Permanent Observer.

“The Holy See reiterates its call to all the religious leaders in the region and everywhere in the world to play a leading role in promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue, in promptly denouncing every use of religion to justify violence, and in educating all to reciprocal understanding and mutual respect”, the nuncio concluded.

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