Angola Needs Peace in Justice, Says Pope

Meets With Visiting African Bishops

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2004 ( John Paul II says the country of Angola needs «a profound national reconciliation.»

«Today more than ever, Angola needs peace in justice,» said the Pope, when receiving the bishops of that country and of the island republic of Sao Tome and Principe, at the conclusion of their five-yearly visit to Rome.

The Holy Father pointed out that Angola needs «a real reconciliation that rejects to temptation to take recourse to violence.»

«It is necessary to work incessantly to offer future generations a country in which all the members of society coexist and collaborate fraternally,» he added during the meeting Friday.

The Pontiff also emphasized the importance of «a fraternal exchange of ideas and collaboration» among the members of the episcopal conference, so that material and spiritual resources can be distributed «among the dioceses with the greatest needs.»

Thus the bishops would be able to «remake the communities destroyed by the war, console wounded hearts» and help their flocks «to make progress on the evangelical path,» John Paul II said.

«I exhort you to work tirelessly for reconciliation and to give genuine witness of unity through gestures of solidarity and help to the victims of decades of violence,» he exhorted.

Angola has seen internal stability since April 2002, when a peace agreement was signed by the Movement for the Liberation of Angola and the Union for the Total Liberation of Angola.

The accord put an end to the civil war that raged since the country’s independence from Portugal in 1975.

The country still copes with the problem of refugees. According to the Fides agency, almost 24,000 Angolans have returned to their country this year in U.N.-organized convoys from Congo, Zambia and Namibia.

In 2002, when the peace agreement was signed, there were an estimated 441,000 Angolan refugees in the border countries. Since then, some 250,000 have returned home, while the rest remain in exile, especially in Congo, Namibia and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville).

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