He made the appeal in particularly strong terms during a yearly “state of the world” address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican.
He called for an “end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins.”
Benedict urged the diplomats from nearly 180 countries and world organizations to push their governments to do everything possible to face “this grave humanitarian situation”.
“Civil and political authorities before all others have a grave responsibility to work for peace,” he told the envoys gathered in the Sala Regia of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.
“They are the first called to resolve the numerous conflicts causing bloodshed in our human family, beginning with that privileged region in God’s plan, the Middle East,” he said in an address delivered in French.
The pope spoke a day after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rejected peace talks with his enemies in a defiant speech that his opponents described as a renewed declaration of war.
(Reporting By Philip Pullella; editing by Barry Moody)
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