Pope says no to war with Iraq

 In his address to the Vatican's Diplomatic Corps of ambassadors from 174 nations yesterday, Pope John Paul II once again appealed for world leaders to find a peaceful solution to the Iraq crisis. He said: "No to war! War is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity. International law, honest dialogue, solidarity between States, the noble exercise of diplomacy: these are methods worthy of individuals and nations in resolving their differences. "I say this as I think of those who still place their trust in nuclear weapons and of the all-too-numerous conflicts which continue to hold hostage our brothers and sisters in humanity. ... I will simply add today, faced with the constant degeneration of the crisis in the Middle East, that the solution will never be imposed by recourse to terrorism or armed conflict, as if military victories could be the solution. And what are we to say of the threat of a war which could strike the people of Iraq, the land of the Prophets, a people already sorely tried by more than twelve years of embargo? War is never just another means that one can choose to employ for settling differences between nations." Introducing a wide-ranging speech he expressed concern at: "the feeling of fear which often dwells in the hearts of our contemporaries. An insidious terrorism capable of striking at any time and anywhere; the unresolved problem of the Middle East, with the Holy Land and Iraq; the turmoil disrupting South America, particularly Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela; the conflicts preventing numerous African countries from focusing on their development; the diseases spreading contagion and death; the grave problem of famine, especially in Africa; the irresponsible behaviour contributing to the depletion of the planet's resources: all these are so many plagues threatening the survival of humanity, the peace of individuals and the security of societies. Everything could change, he said, and each person had a part to play, but, he said politicians had a particular responsibility to serve the common good. He urged them to respect all human life and to respect the law. "The world would be totally different if people began to apply in a straightforward manner the agreements already signed, " he said. Source: Vatican Information Service

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