Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday made an urgent appeal for an end to the violence and bloodshed in Syria, urging the Syrian government to recognize the legitimate aspirations of its people and embark on a national dialogue.
Speaking to pilgrims after his weekly Angelus blessing, the pope said Syrian authorities also had to answer to the concerns of the international community over the fighting and unrest.
“It’s urgent to respond to the legitimate aspirations of the different sections of the nation, as well as the auspices of the international community,” the pope said.
The pope’s envoy to Syria last month suggested Christians could mediate in the country’s deepening conflict and act as a “bridge” between the government and the opposition.
The pope said he was “following with much apprehension the episodes of dramatic and escalating violence in Syria.”
“In these past few days, this violence has provoked many victims including several children, and I pray for them, the wounded and all those who suffer from a conflict that remains very worrying.”
“I am renewing a pressing call for an end to the violence and the bloodletting,” he said.
“I ask the entire world and above all the political authorities in Syria to choose the path of dialogue, reconciliation and commitment in favor of peace,” the pontiff said.