VATICAN CITY, JULY 22, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is the text of a letter Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, sent to Archbishop Paul Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” and John Paul II’s special envoy to the Darfur region of Sudan.
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The recent agreement between the Government of Khartoum and the Sudanese People Liberation Army-Sudanese People Liberation Movement (SPLA-SPLM) [has] opened some good possibilities for peace and development for the entire country. However, the serious humanitarian situation in Darfur, which has recently stirred up a public outcry, is a cause of great concern for Pope John Paul II. Through Your Excellency, the Holy Father wishes to send his greetings to the beloved Catholic community and to all people in the Sudan who are in distress and in need, especially in the region of Darfur, and to assure them of his closeness, solidarity and prayer, in particular for the refugees, who suffer on account of the ongoing conflicts and their grave consequences.
It is the hope of the Holy Father that the people in Darfur will be given all necessary humanitarian aid, especially in the upcoming rainy season, during which time their survival will become even more difficult. He trusts that the Sudanese Authorities, in partnership with the international community, will intensify their efforts to reach a just solution for Darfur. This will happen when the voice of the peoples of Darfur is heard and recognized, and when their fundamental human rights are respected, especially the right to life, to political and religious freedom, and to a peaceful existence in their own territories.
The recognition of these rights of the various peoples of the Sudanese population will allow all citizens of the country, without distinction, to offer their own contribution to the building of a just society, based on solidarity and the good of each and every member. In particular, respect for the legitimate local authorities will ensure that the contrasts and problems of Darfur will not extend further or deepen, thus threatening to render vain the results of the peace accords between the North and the South, reached after prolonged and difficult negotiations.
The Holy Father cordially invokes his Apostolic Blessing on your mission and upon the beloved people of Sudan, asking Almighty God to bestow upon them his blessings of justice, unity and solidarity.
With the assurance of my own prayers for your visit to the Sudan, and with cordial regards and best wishes, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Cardinal Angelo Sodano
Secretary of State of His Holiness
[Original text: English]