Pope: We Must Aid Thousands Fleeing North Africa Conflicts

Pope Benedict XVI has called for emergency assistance to be given to the thousands fleeing violence and attacks in North Africa and the Middle East, Friday.

The Roman Catholic Church leader was speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the Vatican coordinating body, ROACO, where he made an appeal to all nations to explore “every possible form of mediation” to bring an end to the conflicts.

According to The Catholic Review publication, the pope made a request to the Vatican’s coordinating body of church funding agencies for Eastern Catholic churches to “do everything possible” to help the minority Christian populations within the regions.

In Syria more than 10,000 refugees have fled to the Turkish border following the Syrian authority’s brutal crackdown on anti-government protestors that have reportedly killed thousands.

In Libya Colonel Gaddafi is still hanging on to power, and daily reports of killings have become the norm as his troops battle with rebel forces.

Pope Benedict has said that his thoughts and prayers were with all who were “suffering and to those who are trying desperately to escape.”

“I pray that the necessary emergency assistance will be forthcoming, but above all I pray that every possible form of mediation will be explored, so that violence may cease and social harmony and peaceful coexistence may everywhere be restored, with respect for the rights of individuals as well as communities,” the pope said according to The Catholic Review.

The publication explained how the pope urged ROACO to ensure it continues its support of minority Christians in North Africa and the Middle East, and to make its best efforts to reach out to government authorities “to ensure that the priests and Christian faithful can remain in the East where they were born, not as foreigners, but as citizens who bear witness to Jesus Christ.”

A call was made for religious freedom throughout the regions in conflict. He said all Christians “must be recognized as having equal dignity and true freedom.”

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