Pope calls for peace in Libya

Pope speaks of his desire to see diplomacy replace arms in Libya

Pope Benedict XVI has called upon political leaders to use diplomacy and dialogue to bring an end to fighting in Libya in his Easter message.

Around 100,000 faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square to hear the Pope’s 'Urbi et Orbi' message to Rome and the world.

Speaking from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica, the Pope said: “In the current conflict in Libya, may diplomacy and dialogue replace arms, and may those who suffer as a result of the conflict be given access to humanitarian aid.”

While the arrival of thousands of northern African refugees has caused difficulties for some parts of Europe, the Pope encouraged compassion, saying: “May people of good will open their hearts to them.”

The Pope went on to speak of his hope for societies in northern Africa and the Middle East, where demonstrations, revolutions and conflict have been the hallmarks of recent months.

“In all the countries of northern Africa and the Middle East, may all citizens, especially young people, work to promote the common good and to build a society where poverty is defeated and every political choice is inspired by respect for the human person,” he said.

He called upon the Ivory Coast to “tread the path of reconciliation and pardon” after months of fighting and offered his prayers for Japan as it recovers from a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The Pope then delivered his Easter greetings and blessings in more than 60 different languages.

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