Pope Reiterates Concern for Libyan Civilians

Calls For Renewed Efforts to Find Peaceful Solution

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 27, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is reiterating his concern for the civil population of Libya and urging the international community to pursue a peaceful solution.

The Pope commented today on «the ever more dramatic news that is coming from Libya» before praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

«My trepidation for the safety of the civil population grows as does my apprehension for the developments of the situation, which is now marked by the use of arms,» he said.

Last month, protestors in Libya began calling for the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi, the country’s leader for 42 years. The protest soon escalated into armed conflict, with Gaddafi controlling Tripoli and the rebel leaders making their headquarters in Benghazi.

In the wake of reports of «massacres» of the protestors and bombings of the rebel forces by Gaddafi, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1973. This resolution authorized the international community to establish a no-fly zone, and to allow for the use of «all means necessary» for the protection of Libyan civilians.

«In moments of great tension there is a greater urgency to the exigency to have recourse to every means at the disposal of diplomatic action,» the Pope said, «and to support even the weakest signs of openness and desire for reconciliation among all the parties involved, in the pursuit of peaceful and lasting solutions.»

«In this regard,» the Holy Father said, «as I lift up my prayer to the Lord for a return to concord in Libya and the whole region of North Africa, I make a concerned appeal to international organizations and to political and military leaders for the immediate launching of dialogue and a suspension of the use of weapons.»

Over the weekend, Libyan rebels, building on the momentum of several bombing attacks against Qaddafi’s forces in Tripoli and elsewhere, pushed Westward. The rebels seized two key cities, including an oil port.

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton revealed that the no-fly zone over Libya is complete and that Qaddafi’s ability to move has been «eliminated.»

Benedict XVI also noted his concern with that violence that has sprung up in other countries in the Middle East, including Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria and Bahrain.

He said, «I finally address the authorities and citizens of the Middle East, where in recent days various episodes of violence have sprung up, asking that there too the way of dialogue and reconciliation be privileged in the pursuit of just and fraternal coexistence.»

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