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Pope calls on Syria to respect 'dignity' of people

10 june 2011, 13:30
Pope Benedict XVI called on Syria to respect its citizens' "dignity" on Thursday during a meeting with the new Syrian ambassador to the Holy See, Hussan Edin Aala, AFP reports.

"Every nation's path to unity and stability lies in recognising the inalienable dignity of all people. This recognition should be at the heart of institutions, laws and societies," he said.

"It is essential to give priority to the common good, leaving aside personal or partisan interests," he added.

The pontiff said the recent mass demonstrations against the government in Damascus "show the urgent need for real reforms" but called for "respect for truth and human rights" instead of "intolerance, discrimination or conflict".

Benedict said Syria had traditionally been "an example of tolerance, of conviviality and of harmonious relations between Christians and Muslims" and acknowledged that "ecumenical and interreligious relations today are good."

"Nevertheless, such unity cannot grow in a lasting way other than through the recognition of people's dignity," he said.

In May, the pontiff had made an appeal for an end to bloodshed in Syria and had called on authorities to "recognise legitimate aspirations for a future of peace and stability".

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