Pope reiterates call for immediate ceasefire in Lebanon


-File photo

Pope Benedict XVI reiterated his call for an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon on Wednesday and urged political leaders to forge a “definitive political solution” to the crisis.
The 79-year-old pontiff told thousands of pilgrims at his weekly audience in St Peter’s Square to pray for “the dear, martyred region of the Middle East”. “Our eyes are filled with shocking images of bodies of so many people, particularly babies, I am thinking in particular of Qana, in Lebanon. Nothing can justify the spilling of innocent blood, from whatever side.”
Fifty-two civilians, many of them children, were killed in the Israeli strike on the Lebanese village of Qana on Sunday.
“With my heart full of sorrow I again renew an appeal for an immediate cessation of all hostilities and all violence,” said Benedict.
He called on the international community “and those more directly involved in the crisis, to bring about as soon as possible the conditions for a definitive political solution to the crisis, capable of giving a more peaceful future to the generations to come.”
The pope is currently staying at his summer retreat in Castelgandolfo, a lakeside town about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from Rome, but attends his normal weekly general audiences by helicopter.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2006