Security Organization Hears Vatican Stance on Mideast

Aide Urges Respect for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

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VIENNA, Austria, APRIL 18, 2002 ( The Vatican urged «scrupulous respect for human rights and humanitarian law» in the Mideast conflict, during an address before the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Monsignor Leo Boccardi, the Vatican´s permanent representative at the OSCE, said the Catholic Church makes that appeal to «those who have the responsibility and the possibility to take the necessary action, however difficult it might be.»

At the same time, in his address to the OSCE´s Permanent Council in Vienna on April 11, Monsignor Boccardi urged «the parties in conflict toward agreements which are fair and honorable for everyone.» The Vatican published the text of the address this week.

OSCE is the largest regional security organization in the world with 55 participating states from Europe, Central Asia and North America. It is active in early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict rehabilitation.

The Vatican delegate added: «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.»

Monsignor Boccardi summarized the Vatican´s position in the following five points:

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

–«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.

–«Respect for the United Nations resolutions by all sides.

–«Proportionality in the use of legitimate means of defense.

–«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.»

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