.- During the reception of the diplomatic credentials of the new ambassador of Lebanon, Naji Abi Assi, Pope John Paul II called again for a strengthened role of the United Nations in securing peace.
The Pontiff said that in light of the present international situation “the Holy See does not cease to plead for a return to the stability and international order, thanks to the recognition of the regulating role of international organizations, especially the United Nations, and to strengthening their means to make decisions and take action in order to reduce tensions and guarantee peace.”
“It is to be hoped,” he continued, “that your country will recover stable conditions which will favor economic and social development for everyone’s benefit, especially those most in need. This will help to avoid situations of injustice, economic difficulty and feelings of frustration that can debilitate the social fabric, discourage certain sectors of society to stay in the country, causing emigration which weakens a nation and deprives it of its most precious resources, human beings.”
The Pope then spoke about Lebanon’s strategic position, and asked the international community to assume its responsibility and to invite the parties involved, in the first place Israelis and Palestinians, to “renew dialogue without delay and to find ways to put an end to the infernal cycle of reciprocal violence.”
Lasting peace in the Middle East will not exist, he continued, if there is a lack of “political fortitude, or without the firm determination to recognize the rights of each person, including those of your adversary, in order to take up the path of peace, respecting justice, or if there is no mutual forgiveness to clean the terrible wounds of mutual violence.”
“May all political leaders listen to this appeal in order to work actively and without delays in their renewal to commitments to restore peace, which everyone is hoping for!”
The Pope concluded by encouraging Catholics of different rites in Lebanon “to work together in the service of communion and to follow the path of unity with our brothers and sisters of other confessions.”
“May they commit themselves in a specific way,” he concluded, “to inter-religious dialogue with Muslims, especially in the field of the education of the youth and in the dialogue of life.”