22-January-2014 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pope Appeals for Peace as Geneva II Conference Begins

Calls for an End to Syrian Conflict that has "Caused So Much Suffering"

VATICAN CITY, January 22, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Pope Francis launched an appeal for peace as the world's top diplomats gathered in Geneva to negotiate a peaceful settlement in the Syrian civil war today.

At the conclusion of his Wednesday General Audience, the Holy Father that the Geneva II Peace Conference will result in an end to the violence that has left hundreds of thousands dead.

"I pray that the Lord will touch the hearts of all so that, in looking only to the greater good of the Syrian people, so sorely tried, they may spare no effort in coming together with urgency in ceasing violence and an end to the conflict, that has already caused so much suffering," the Pope said.

Civil war has raged between the forces of President Bashir al-Assad and Syrian opposition forces. Over 100,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the three year conflict. On September 7th, the Holy Father called for a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Syria which saw the participation of faithful around the world. The Pope has made repeated calls for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

"I wish for the dear nation of Syria a decided path to reconciliation, of harmony and reconstruction with the participation of all citizens," the Pope concluded, "where each one can find in the other not an enemy, not a competitor but a brother to receive and embrace."

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