.- In remarks following his recitation of the Angelus at Castel Gandolfo on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI made a strong appeal for peace in Georgia, asking that the truce declared in the region be allowed to strengthen and transform into a stable peace. Offering his prayers for all victims of the conflict, the Holy Father encouraged the delivery of relief aid to affected populations and called for humanitarian corridors for refugees.
"I am following with attention and concern the situation in Georgia and I feel particularly close to the victims of the conflict,â he said. âWhile I raise a special prayer for the dead, I express my sincere condolences to all those who mourn, and I ask that the severe hardships of refugees, especially those of women and children who might have difficulty in obtaining necessities, be relieved with generosity," the Holy Father said.
Pope Benedict also called for the opening of humanitarian corridors between the region of South Ossetia and the rest of Georgia in order that âthe still abandoned dead can receive dignified burial and the wounded can be properly cared for and allowed to reunite with their loved ones.â
In addition, he asked for the guarantee of the security and fundamental rights of ethnic minorities in the conflict, saying their rights can never be violated.
Finally, the Holy Father asked that the current truce, which he said was achieved through the contributions of the European Union, âtransform into a consolidated and stable peace.â He then invited the international community to âcontinue offering their support to achieve a lasting solution through dialogue and mutual goodwill."