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Pope’s Christmas address calls for an end to conflict in Syria and Yemen


Pope Francis has urged people to overcome their religious and cultural differences and end conflict in Syria, Yemen and in other Middle East hot-spots.

Delivering his sixth Urbi et Orbi address to a crowd of 50,000 people in Saint Peter’s Square, the Pope said, “My wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity, all of us are brothers and sisters in humanity.”

Just days after Donald Trump announced he is to order the withdrawal of US troops from Syria urging Saudi Arabia to help rebuild the country, the pope called for an urgent political solution to enable millions of Syrian refugees to return home.

“May the international community work decisively for a political solution that can put aside divisions and partisan interests, so that the Syrian people, especially all those who were forced to leave their own lands and seek refuge elsewhere, can return to live in peace in their own country,” the pope said.

After appealing for peace in Syria, the pope also called for a resumption of talks between Israelis and Palestinians and for a political solution in Yemen.

“My thoughts turn to Yemen, in the hope that the truce brokered by the international community may finally bring relief to all those children and people exhausted by war and famine,” the pope said.

Francis also mentioned Ukraine which he said was “yearning to regain a lasting peace that is slow to come,” appealed for social harmony in Venezuela and for reconciliation in Nicaragua.

The pope called for an end to conflict in Africa “where millions of people are refugees, or displaced or in need of humanitarian assistance and food security”.

On Christmas Eve the pope talked of his concern about the gap between rich and poor and of “insatiable greed.” (HERE)