Signs of Peace Detected in Africa and Mideast

Pope Cites Courageous Efforts Under Way

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 10, 2005 ( John Paul II condemned the armed conflicts that continue to bloody the world, even while pointing out what he called signs of peace.

«As a supreme good and the condition for attaining many other essential goods, peace is the dream of every generation,» the Pope said today in a long address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.

The Holy Father began by mentioning the countries in «the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America, where recourse to arms and violence has not only led to incalculable material damage, but also fomented hatred and increased the causes of tension.»

«In addition to these tragic evils there is the brutal, inhuman phenomenon of terrorism, a scourge which has taken on a global dimension unknown to previous generations,» he added.

John Paul II acknowledged the numerous people «who are working with courage» for peace and reconciliation, and mentioned «encouraging signs that the great challenge of building peace can be met.»

«In Africa, for instance, despite serious relapses into disagreements which appeared to have been resolved, there is a growing common will to resolve and prevent conflicts through a fuller cooperation between the great international organizations and continental groupings, like the African Union,» he noted.

As concrete examples, the Pope mentioned last November’s «meeting of the United Nations Security Council in Nairobi» to discuss «the humanitarian emergency in Darfur and the situation in Somalia,» and the «international conference on the Great Lakes region.»

In the Middle East, «the land so dear and sacred to believers in the God of Abraham,» the Pontiff said that «armed confrontation appears to be decreasing, with the hope of a political breakthrough in the direction of dialogue and negotiation.»

Finally, as «an outstanding example of the possibility of peace,» the Pope mentioned Europe. «Nations which were once fierce enemies locked in deadly wars are now members of the European Union, which during the past year aimed at further consolidation through the constitutional Treaty of Rome, while at the same time showing the openness to admitting other states willing to accept the requirements of membership.»

«Bringing about an authentic and lasting peace in this violence-filled world calls for a power of peace that does not shrink before difficulties,» the Holy Father said. «It is a power that human beings on their own cannot obtain or preserve: it is a gift from God.

«God loves mankind, and he wants peace for all men and women. We are asked to be active instruments of that peace, and to overcome evil with good.»

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