John Paul II Urges Africans to Work "Like Brothers"

Receives New Ambassador from Gabon

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 10, 2002 ( John Paul II appealed to African peoples to put an end to their fratricidal fighting and set out together on the road to integral development.

The Pope made this appeal today when he received the letters of credence of Desire Koumba, the new ambassador of Gabon to the Vatican.

«While the continent continues to suffer bitterly from the various conflicts which plague it, I appeal once again and with insistence to all Africans to mobilize in order to work hand in hand, like brothers, to make their lands into livable places, in which each one can have his share of the natural resources,» the Holy Father said.

The Pope then addressed the legitimate leaders of African countries, exhorting them to make every effort to create «conditions for an integral development, characterized by solidarity.»

«From this perspective, it corresponds to every member of the national community to be able to participate in civic life so that the state of law and democratic institutions will be consolidated, which must favor concern for the service and honest administration of the common good, respect for persons and ethnic communities, and the defense of the poorest and of families,» the Pope continued.

According to John Paul II, this type of policies contributes «decisively to the political stability of a country and continent.»

Lamenting the widespread poverty in Africa, he urged «the legitimate authorities of these countries to pursue the fight against all forms of poverty that ruin the hopes of individuals and peoples, thus fueling violence and extremism of every kind.»

Lastly, the Holy Father addressed the international community, calling for «a new élan in international cooperation which must be rethought in terms of a culture of solidarity to combat the negative effects linked to globalization.»

In particular, the Pope pointed out the need to rethink «the debt of African countries,» and to promote local initiatives that involve the population.

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