Address at Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

Aide Spells Out Vatican Views on Mideast Conflict

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 18, 2002 ( The Vatican permanent observer at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Monsignor Leo Boccardi, gave an address at the OSCE´s Permanent Council on April 11 in Vienna, Austria. The Vatican Press Office released this text of the speech this week.

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Mr. Chairman,

My Delegation wishes to stress, in this important forum, the Holy See´s recently reconfirmed position, regarding the continuing conflict in the Holy Land.

This position is articulated in the five following points:

1. Unequivocal condemnation of terrorism, from whatever side it may come.

2. Disapproval of the conditions of injustice and humiliation imposed on the Palestinian people, as well as reprisals and retaliation, which only make the sense of frustration and hatred grow.

3. Respect for the United Nations Resolutions by all sides.

4. Proportionality in the use of legitimate means of defense.

5. The duty for the parties in conflict to protect the Holy places, which are of the greatest importance to the three monotheistic religions and a patrimony of all of humanity.

The Holy See is in close contact, among others, with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the religious communities of Bethlehem, and has conveyed to them the Holy Father´s complete solidarity in this sorrowful moment. After recalling that nothing can be resolved by conflict and that it only brings greater suffering and death, Pope John Paul II stressed that no political or religious leader can remain silent and inactive. Denunciation must be followed by practical acts of solidarity that will help everyone to rediscover mutual respect and return to frank negotiation.

In this spirit and convinced that, when the merciless logic of arms prevails, only God can bring hearts to peaceful thoughts, Pope John Paul II asked the Catholic Church to pray more intensely on Sunday, April 7 last, for the people suffering from this terrible violence.

Mr. Chairman,

The protection and the promotion of peace has always been high in the Agenda of our Organisation.

Many Religions proclaim that peace is a gift from God. This was also the experience of the recent meeting of Assisi. At that time, my Delegation informed the Permanent Council of the meaning of that event and the purpose of the «Commitment for peace» signed by the Religious leaders present at Assisi and subsequently sent to the Head of States and Governments.

The Holy See hopes that the aforementioned initiatives will effectively encourage those who have the responsibility and the possibility to take the necessary action, however difficult it might be, to demand scrupulous respect for human rights and humanitarian law and to urge the parties in conflict towards agreements which are fair and honorable for everyone.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

[Original text: English]

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