Custodian of Holy Land praises Middle East diplomatic progress

.- Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custodian of the Holy Land, on Thursday praised the official announcement of Israel-Syria negotiations and the recent agreement electing a new Lebanese government. 

“Excellent news is coming from the country of the cedar trees,” said Father Pizzaballa to the Italian bishops’ SIR news service.  “The new president and the new Government will at last put an end to a crisis that was dangerously spiraling out of control.”

The Custodian, a Franciscan priest, also said he was glad the Turkey-mediated negotiations between Syria and Israel had been publicly acknowledged for the first time.

“Dialogue is always a good thing, but there is still a long way to go. There are problems within the Israeli Government, and there are many pressures on both sides,” Father Pizzaballa said.

“We hope they will go on without dithering and will find a solution soon,” he continued.

The Custodian said that since the 2007 U.S.-sponsored Middle East conference in Annapolis, nice words had been said but “nothing has changed locally.” 

With “healthy Christian realism,” Father Pizzaballa said, care must be taken to ensure that such statements will be followed by real actions.

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