NewsPope Francis advocates for negotiations in Ukraine conflict

Pope Francis advocates for negotiations in Ukraine conflict

Shocking words of Pope Francis. There is a comment from the Vatican.
Shocking words of Pope Francis. There is a comment from the Vatican.
Images source: © EPA, PAP | ETTORE FERRARI
7:42 AM EDT, March 10, 2024

In a recent interview given to Swiss television, Pope Francis discussed topics such as the war in the Gaza Strip and Ukraine. Although the full interview is scheduled for broadcast on March 20, portions of it were quoted by the Italian agency Ansa on Saturday.

"Every day at 1 PM Eastern Time, I contact the parish in Gaza. Around six hundred people live there, and they share their experiences of war. It's crucial to remember that war is waged by two sides, not just one. Both sides conducting the war are irresponsible," the pope declared.

"This conflict is more than just a traditional military clash; it resembles a guerrilla war led by Hamas, an organization that isn't a conventional army," Francis continued.

One needs the courage to negotiate

"History teaches us that all wars eventually conclude with an agreement," added the Pope when asked about his hopes for mediation.

Discussing Ukraine, he emphasized, "True strength lies in the ability to evaluate the situation, consider the nation's future, and dare to negotiate with a white flag. In today's world, negotiations can be facilitated by international powers. The act of negotiating itself is courageous," he added.

"When it becomes clear that defeat is imminent or when things negatively progress, it takes courage to start negotiations. It may feel embarrassing, but one has to consider the alternative - how many lives will be lost if we don't?" Francis remarked.

He firmly believes in finding a mediator to facilitate negotiations, stating, "In the case of Ukraine, there are many possibilities."

Do not be ashamed to negotiate

"Turkey, among others, has offered its services. Don't wait until the situation worsens before you decide to negotiate," the pope advised.

When asked if he is willing to serve as a mediator in current conflicts, he answered, "I am here, that's it. I sent a letter to the Jews of Israel, urging them to reflect on the situation," he added.

"Negotiating doesn't mean surrendering. It represents the bravery to save your country from destruction. The Ukrainians, with their pain-stained history, especially during Stalin's era, know suffering all too well," the pope said.

He reiterated his stance that the "arms industry" is behind every conflict and criticized it for profiting from death. "War is insanity," he emphasized.

Vatican explains the Pope's statements

Regarding humanitarian aid, the pope noted that it sometimes serves to alleviate guilt.

When inquiring about the reactions of world leaders to his peace appeals, he shared, "Some agree, acknowledging the necessity of defense, yet you come to realize they own factories producing the very planes that drop bombs on others."

"How does war end? With numerous casualties, widespread destruction, and children left orphaned. Conflicts are often sparked by specific geographical or historical circumstances. While some wars might appear justifiable on practical grounds, at their core lies the arms industry, fueled by financial gain," Pope Francis analyzed.

The pope's comments generated widespread debate. To address the controversy, the Vatican issued a statement.

"By referencing a white flag, the Pope was responding to the journalist's imagery, expressing the need for halting military actions and pursuing negotiation courageously to achieve a truce," Matteo Bruni of the Holy See Press Office explained. Bruni, as quoted by Vatican News, emphasized that the pope's longstanding wish is "to foster the conditions for a diplomatic resolution that leads to a fair and enduring peace."

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