World Pressure Seen Lacking in "Road Map" for Mideast Peace

Holy See Official Addresses a Committee of the U.N. General Assembly

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NEW YORK, NOV. 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See says that the lack of international pressure has led to the failure to date of the «road map» for peace in the Holy Land.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, addressed the 4th Commission of the U.N. General Assembly on Monday on «U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.»

The Holy See’s observer said that only these negotiations will lead to reconciliation.

«A realistic analysis of the situation finds that there is a lot of peacemaking rhetoric but very little political will shown in the resolution of differences,» he said.

«The reluctance of the international community to challenge the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships to negotiate in good faith has contributed to the fact that the road map has not taken off,» the papal representative added.

«Without these much needed negotiations, there are no opportunities for reconciliation, forgiveness, compromise or collaboration, all prerequisites for a lasting peace in the region. Communication is essential for bringing together the parties at difference. There is no way in which a policy of continued separation will bring about peace,» the archbishop said.

The «road map» is an agreement under the aegis of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.

The agreement tries to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict at the political, economic, humanitarian and security level, including the establishment of an independent and democratic Palestinian state. It does not foresee the return of Palestinian refugees.

Archbishop Migliore took advantage of the occasion to remind his audience that the solution to the conflict in the Holy Land includes «the question of the holy city of Jerusalem.»

«In light of the numerous incidents of violence and the challenge to free movement posed by the Wall, with checkpoints and curfews, the Holy See renews its call for internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and of conscience of its inhabitants, as well as permanent, free and unhindered access to the Holy Places by the faithful of all religions and nationalities,» he said.

«Jerusalem, the holy city, is the common patrimony of the believing world and whoever has custody of the holy city is accountable for it to the international community. Its governance should not be considered solely a matter for one or other authority,» the Holy See official continued.

«Current levels of violence have caused pilgrims to stay away from the Holy Land, imposing ever more severe economic penalties on all the people of the region, besides hindering the right of people from all over the world to visit and pray at the religious sites,» the archbishop observed.

Moreover, he lamented «that the local population does not always have free access to the shrines and holy places.»

«When we consider the ongoing violence, the economic depression, restrictions on movement and lack of access to religious sites, it is hardly surprising that many feel obliged to leave the region definitively,» he said. «It is painful to see that a land once entrusted with a message of love, life, brotherhood and peace, called by many a Holy Land, in these times sends a very different message to the world, one of division, destruction and death.»

«The family of nations must challenge all the actors concerned to renew their efforts to bring peace to the region,» he added.

«Only with a just and lasting peace — not imposed but secured through negotiation — will the legitimate aspirations of all the peoples of that land be fulfilled,» Archbishop Migliore said. «Such an outcome depends greatly on the courageous readiness of those responsible to move to new attitudes of compromise which comply with the demands of justice.»

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