Vatican calls for international observers in Middle East

 Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican secretary for relations with states, has announced that the Vatican would like to see international observers in Israel/Palestine. Speaking on Vatican Radio on Saturday, the French Archbishop said: "The Holy See has been thinking of this proposal for more than a year, as one cannot witness passively the daily deaths of Israelis and Palestinians." "Every morning we hear news of this really sad war. Once again, it is necessary to help both sides find the path of reason, especially of negotiation." Referring to the violence, Archbishop Tauran said: "This is why we have thought of the presence of observers, or at least of a structure of dissuasion that will allow both sides of the conflict to silence their arms and reflect on their common destiny. One cannot think of peace while holding weapons." The appeal, he said, was all the more urgent in the wake of religious leaders' Day of Prayer for Peace, held in Assisi last week. He said: "Through the wonderful testimonies we heard, we were able to discover, like all those with the Pope, that only peace is holy, not war; a very important message. "Another aspect I would like to emphasize is that the meeting reminded the world that religion, with a capital 'R,' has its place in society as the indispensable factor for public dialogue. It is necessary to stress this forcefully, after last Sept. 11."

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