Here is a translation of the communique from the Conference of Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions, following their 50th assembly.
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In the course of its 50th Assembly, held at Rome from September 17-20, the Conference of Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions (CELRA) examined pastoral subjects regarding their respective countries, paying particular attention to the Syrian conflict. In this connection, the Bishops expressed:
1. Their gratitude to Pope Francis for his touching appeal for a universal Day of Fast and Prayer for peace in Syria, which witnessed their full participation in order to avoid the worsening of a situation, already tragic, which an eventual military intervention could effect.
2. Their solidarity with the Syrian people – regardless of their religious or political affiliation – who are suffering terribly because of an absurd war which has already caused more than 100,000 victims and millions of wounded, evacuees and refugees.
3. Their conviction that the present conflict will not be resolved with an escalation of violence and much less so by providing more arms to the two sides in conflict, but rather through dialogue and negotiation under international supervision.
This situation requires a speedy decision to put an end to a conflict that has been going on for more than two and a half years.
4. Several countries of CELRA (Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq) are direct witnesses of the suffering of the victims and are committed in humanitarian assistance to the refugees, especially through their respective Caritas. The Bishops wish to thank profoundly the benefactors who have demonstrated great generosity to the refugees and the volunteers, who work in difficult conditions to help the people and to distribute medicines and food to them.
5. The Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions ask men of good will to continue to pray incessantly for the intentions of the Middle East and to make every effort to find a feasible solution to the Syrian conflict.