Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pope Sends a Letter to Assad for Peace in Syria; Calls for End of Syria's Deadly 6-Year Civil War

Pope Francis is moving beyond prayer in stepped-up efforts to find peace for Syrians caught in the crossfire in a lingering civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people in six years of relentless fighting, The Daily Beast website reports today (December 13, 2016).

The pontiff -- who will turn 80 this weekend -- penned a letter to Bashar al-Assad that was hand-delivered to the Syrian leader in Damascus yesterday by Mario Zenari, the Vatican's cardinal and apostolic nuncio (ambassador) to Syria, calling for "an end to the violence and the peaceful resolution of hostilities."

According to the Holy See press office, the Vatican has been increasing diplomatic pressure on Assad with an eye to becoming an integral negotiator in eventual peace talks.

In another effort to resolve an international stalemate, Pope Francis served as the key negotiator that led to the renewal of U.S.-Cuban diplomatic relations last year, after a non-diplomatic hiatus of more than 50 years.

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