Kazakhstan: Pope says conflicts must be resolved by dialogue not force

 "Conflicts must be resolved not by force, but by peaceful negotiation and dialogue," Pope John Paul II said yesterday, at the start of his four day visit to Kazakhstan. During this first speech he also spoke of how Kazakhstan had been used as a nuclear testing ground during the Soviet era. Later, more than 20,000 Christian and Moslem people attended an open air Mass celebrated by the Pope in the capital, Astana. During his homily, the Pope spoke about the 'the logic of love' which could bring together the two faiths. He also paid tribute to the many thousands of people from different ethnic and religious groups who were deported to Kazakhstan from other parts of the Soviet Union under Stalin. Speaking from a tent in traditional Kazakh style, he said: "I know your history, that suffering which many of you were subjected to when the totalitarian regime tore you away from your native land and deported you here." There are about 300,000 Catholics in Kazakhstan, six million Russian Orthodox Christians and eight million Muslims. For up-to-the minute information about the Pope's historic journey - visit the official website of the Catholic Church in Kazakhstan at: www.rc.net/kazakhstan/jp/En/index.htm

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