"New Direction for Africa" Advocated by Pope

Says Development Vital to Peace and Prosperity

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 16, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Africa’s wars are often forgotten by outsiders — but not by John Paul II.

“I think immediately of the beloved continent of Africa, where conflicts which have already claimed millions of victims are still continuing,” the Pope says in his newly released message for the 2005 World Day of Peace.

The message addresses “the many difficult problems standing in the way of development in Africa: numerous armed conflicts, pandemic diseases aggravated by extreme poverty, and political instability leading to widespread insecurity.”

The Holy Father advocates “a radically new direction for Africa.”

“There is a need,” he writes, “to create new forms of solidarity, at bilateral and multilateral levels, through a more decisive commitment on the part of all, with complete conviction that the well-being of the peoples of Africa is an indispensable condition for the attainment of the universal common good.”

John Paul II, who has just announced the convocation of the second Synod of Bishops for Africa, hopes that the peoples of Africa will “become the protagonists of their own future and their own cultural, civil, social and economic development!”

“May Africa cease to be a mere recipient of aid, and become a responsible agent of convinced and productive sharing,” he states.

To achieve this goal a “new political culture” is necessary, “especially in the area of international cooperation,” he writes.

“Once again I wish to state that failure to honor the repeated promises of Public Aid Development, the still unresolved question of the heavy foreign debt of African countries, and the failure to give those countries special consideration in international commercial relations, represent grave obstacles to peace which urgently need to be addressed and resolved,” he states.

“Today more than ever,” the Holy Father contends, “a decisive condition for bringing peace to the world is an acknowledgment of the interdependence between wealthy and poor countries, such that ‘development either becomes shared in common by every part of the world or it undergoes a process of regression even in zones marked by constant progress.'”

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