L´Osservatore Romano Fears More Tensions After Counterattacks

Vatican Newspaper Emphasizes That Peace Is Based on Mutual Respect

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 8, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The Oct. 9 Italian edition of the Vatican´s semiofficial newspaper expressed hopes that the British-American attacks on Afghanistan not cause further divisions in the world.

«Until the end it was hoped that recourse to military action might be avoided; that the crisis might be resolved peacefully by handing over to international justice those responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Terrifying attacks — it is a duty to recall — which caused the death of more than 6,000 defenseless civilians,» L´Osservatore Romano states.

«The military reaction against terrorist centers has begun. However, the political authorities in Washington and London do not speak of war but, rather, of a limited operation of international policing with specific objectives. It is not at all a war against the Afghan people, who are not to blame, and whose sufferings have lasted for 20 years,» states the Vatican newspaper.

Nor is it «a war against Islam that — as President Bush acknowledged — is a religion of peace. It is no accident that while hammering terrorist hideouts, the Anglo-American forces are making airdrops of provisions for the population,» the paper continues.

At this «dramatic» time, L´Osservatore Romano recalls John Paul II´s appeals following the Sept. 11 attacks.

On Sept. 23, in Kazakhstan, John Paul II said: «We must not allow what has happened to lead to more acute divisions. Religion must never be used as a reason for conflict.»

Two days later he said: «Peace can only be built on the basis of mutual respect, justice in relations between different communities, and magnanimity on the part of the strong.»

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