Pope Francis praised efforts to resolve the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine
In his annual address to members of the diplomatic corps at the beginning of the new year, Pope Francis says the heightening of tensions between Iran and the United States “risks… compromising the gradual process of rebuilding in Iraq, as well as setting the groundwork for a vaster conflict”.
Pope Francis focused on the virtue of ‘hope’ in his annual greetings to members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Hope, he said, “is an essential virtue for Christians, to inspire our way of approaching the times that lie ahead”.
Noting that “peace and integral human development are… the principal aim of the Holy See in its involvement in the field of diplomacy”, the Pope’s speech focused heavily on calls for dialogue and for concerted international action on various issues facing the world today.
Pope Francis also recalled his visits to the Eastern European nations of Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Romania, where he experienced “the importance of dialogue and the culture of encounter”. He highlighted “the importance of dialogue and respect for international law in resolving the ‘frozen conflicts’ that persist” in Europe, taking note of situations in the western Balkans and the southern Caucasus, including Georgia; and encouraging ongoing talks for the reunification of Cyprus. He also expressed his appreciation for efforts to resolve the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. “Dialogue, not arms, is the essential way to resolve disputes”, he insisted.