"Road Map" for Peace Must Be Respected, Insists Vatican

Reminds International Community of Its Commitment in Mideast

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NEW YORK, NOV. 6, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The international community must exert pressure on the Israelis and Palestinians to apply the «road map» for peace, the Holy See emphasized before the United Nations.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, made that appeal Monday before the Fourth Committee on Agenda Item 83: «United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.»

«The international community must assist all parties involved to realize that the occupation of the territories of the West Bank and Gaza and the terrorist attacks are triggering the unending spiral of acts of violence and retaliation which afflict both the Palestinians and the Israelis,» he said.

«An integral part of the current ‘road map’ to peace clearly calls for a two-state solution,» he stressed in reference to the peace plan supported by the United States, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United Nations.

«It is incumbent upon both parties, assisted by the international community, to endorse the ‘road map’ as a tool of negotiation and confidence building so that the issues of difference can be addressed and accords of resolution produced,» Archbishop Migliore added.

«The Holy See is convinced that the present conflict in the Middle East will find a lasting solution only when there are two independent and sovereign States living side by side in peace and security,» he said.

«To this end, questions concerning Palestinian refugees and Israeli settlements, for example, or the problem of setting territorial boundaries and defining the status of the most sacred places of the city of Jerusalem, need to be the subject of open dialogue and sincere negotiation,» he explained.

In his address, the archbishop mentioned the assistance the Catholic Church is giving to Palestine Refugees in the Near East through the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, which has been working in the region since 1949, Caritas Internationalis, and Catholic Relief Services, which, he added, «report daily on the trials of the people served.»

«During the last three years, those agencies have found it increasingly difficult to carry out their mission,» he concluded.

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