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Pope calls for end to bloodshed in Libya, Ivory Coast

06 april 2011, 19:06
Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday called for an immediate end to the fighting in Ivory Coast and Libya, saying all sides should launch peace efforts "to stop further bloodshed", AFP reports.

"I pray for the victims and I am close to all those who are suffering," the pope said at the end of an audience in the Vatican.

"That is why I am launching a new, heartfelt appeal to all sides to launch peace and dialogue effort in order to stop further bloodshed," he said.

"Violence and hatred are always a defeat!" he added.

The pope also called for his envoy, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Turkson, to be allowed to enter Ivory Coast "to demonstrate my solidarity". Turkson was blocked in Ghana because of the escalating conflict in Ivory Coast.

The pope has repeatedly warned about the rising violence in Libya.

"I launch a heartfelt appeal to international organisations and those with political and military responsibilities to immediately launch a dialogue that will suspend the use of arms," he told pilgrims in the Vatican last month.

"At moments of the highest tension, it becomes more urgent to use every diplomatic method available and to support even the weakest signal of openness and of willingness for reconciliation from all sides involved," he added.

Following the start of international military operations to impose a fly-zone on Libya, the pope urged world leaders to ensure "the safety of Libyan citizens and guarantee access to humanitarian aid."

The Vatican's official daily Osservatore Romano earlier said France had been "hasty" in launching into a military operation against Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's regime and said there was "great confusion" over strategy.

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