Thursday, September 05, 2013

Pope calls for peace talks

Vatican Radio reports, "Pope Francis renewed his appeal for peace in Syria and throughout the world on Wednesday, once again inviting Christians of every denomination, believers of every religious tradition and all people of good will to take part in the worldwide fast and vigil of prayer and penance for peace, which he has called for September 7th, the vigil of the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, whom we venerate as Queen of Peace."  Independent Catholic News adds, "There will be prayers for peace in St Peter's Square and in the great Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, this Saturday.  The Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badreddin Hassou, spiritual leader of Sunni Islam, has welcomed the Pope's appeal and will be there praying and fasting for peace in his country. In an official letter sent,through the Apostolic Nunciature in Damascus, the Mufti said he is preparing to participate in the special pro-Syria day on September 7, and proposes organizing an interfaith meeting with the Hoiy See."  And AFP quotes the head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Monsignor Mario Toso, declaring, "The Syria conflict has all the ingredients to explode into a war of global dimensions. The solution to Syria's problems is not in armed intervention. Violence will not decrease and there is a risk of a conflagration that extends to other countries."

Many world leaders are in St. Petersburg today for the G-20.  Russian President Vladimir Putin is presiding.  Reuters notes, "Pope Francis, in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the G20 conference, urged world leaders to "lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution" in Syria."  Vatican Radio has posted the letter in full and we'll include this section:

From this standpoint, it is clear that, for the world’s peoples, armed conflicts are always a deliberate negation of international harmony, and create profound divisions and deep wounds which require many years to heal. Wars are a concrete refusal to pursue the great economic and social goals that the international community has set itself, as seen, for example, in the Millennium Development Goals. Unfortunately, the many armed conflicts which continue to afflict the world today present us daily with dramatic images of misery, hunger, illness and death. Without peace, there can be no form of economic development. Violence never begets peace, the necessary condition for development.
The meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the twenty most powerful economies, with two-thirds of the world’s population and ninety per cent of global GDP, does not have international security as its principal purpose. Nevertheless, the meeting will surely not forget the situation in the Middle East and particularly in Syria. It is regrettable that, from the very beginning of the conflict in Syria, one-sided interests have prevailed and in fact hindered the search for a solution that would have avoided the senseless massacre now unfolding. The leaders of the G20 cannot remain indifferent to the dramatic situation of the beloved Syrian people which has lasted far too long, and even risks bringing greater suffering to a region bitterly tested by strife and needful of peace. To the leaders present, to each and every one, I make a heartfelt appeal for them to help find ways to overcome the conflicting positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution. Rather, let there be a renewed commitment to seek, with courage and determination, a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation of the parties, unanimously supported by the international community. Moreover, all governments have the moral duty to do everything possible to ensure humanitarian assistance to those suffering because of the conflict, both within and beyond the country’s borders.

 The Vatican spoke out against war with Iraq as well.  No one in the administration seemed to concerned back then.  They probably won't now.  But were I a practicing Catholic, like John Kerry, I think the call from the Vatican would have some resonance.  When the head of your church/faith is calling for peace talks, how do you blow that off?

Steve Chapman is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune.  He's a Libertarian and, like the Vatican, he objected to the US government starting a war on Iraq.  Today, he calls out the lies of the administration and points out that there would be human costs in Syria if the US launched an attack.  He concludes his column with, "It may look antiseptic from Washington, but only because the Syrians have no means to respond in kind. But to anyone in Syria, there will be no doubt that we are waging war."

Barney Henderson and Harriet Alexander (Telegraph of London) are blogging the G-20 and they note a statement European President Herman Van Rompuy has issued:

While respecting the recent calls for action, we underscore at the same time the need to move forward with addressing the Syrian crisis through the UN process. We note the on-going UN investigation on the 21st of August attack and further investigations on other chemical weapons attacks carried out in this conflict. We hope a preliminary report of this first investigation could be released as soon as possible.
We urge the UN Security Council to unite in its efforts to prevent any further chemical attack. To that effect, we encourage the UNSC to fulfil its responsibilities in line with international law and take all initiatives to achieve this goal.
Finally, there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict.
Only a political solution can end the terrible bloodshed, grave violations of human rights and the far-reaching destruction of Syria. Too many lives have already been lost and too many people have suffered for too long and lost too much. The Syrian people deserve a chance to restore peace, reconcile, and rebuild their country.
An encompassing diplomatic process leading to a political solution is now more urgent than ever.

How pathetic the Nobel Peace Prize Committee now looks as various religious and political leaders implore peace talks and the Nobel 'Peace' Prize winner Barack ignores the calls in his lust to kill people.

The e-mail address for this site is