Good Will to start a Peace Process in Yemen

Pope Francis says, that during his historic trip to the United Arab Emirates, he found goodwill to start a peace process in Yemen.

He made this strong statement during his in-flight press conference returning from the UAE’s capital of Abu Dhabi to Rome.

ZENIT Senior Vatican Correspondent, Deborah Castellano Lubov, has been covering Francis’ historic trip from the papal flight, the first time a Pope has ever visited the Arabian Peninsula, and the first time there has ever been a public Mass in the Islamic country.

The Catholic Church in the UAE makes up nearly 10 percent of the population, numbering some 900,000, and they are all foreigners who have come to the UAE for work.

When answering questions on the declaration on “Human Fraternity,” signed between Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the Holy Father underscored that it condemns every form of terrorism. “The document has been prepared through a lot of reflection and prayer. Both the Grand Imam and myself…we prayed a lot. To be able to produce this document.”

“Because there is only one great danger in this moment in time: destruction, war and hatred between us, if we believers are not able to give each other a hand and hug each other,” he warned, “our faith will be defeated.”

“This document is born out of the faith in God, who is father to all, the father of peace. And it condemns all destruction, all terrorism.”

The document is based on the spirit of the Second Vatican Council. “Before taking the decision, I wished for some theologians to say it was acceptable including the official theologian of the papal household, a Dominican,  to make sure it was right. “He approved” and we signed it”, the Pope said.

The situation in Yemen

In his address at the International Interfaith Meeting on Human Fraternity, Pope Francis praised the model of coexistence and tolerance he found in the UAE, but also referenced the suffering in Yemen, who the UAE has been an ally of Saudi Arabia in a military coalition in the Civil War which has been raging on for four years against Iran. According to UN statistics, the humanitarian crisis has left nearly 10 million starving, including many children.

When asked by journalists aboard the flight about the UAE’s support in the war against rebels in Yemen, Francis expressed he “found good will to start a peace process.”

Asked about recent reports of sexual abuse against nuns by the clergy, the Pope admitted it “is a problem” and that “more should be done” to prevent it. He also praised his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who made great personal efforts to counter this problem.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who used to be Apostolic Nuncio in Venezuela, who was  on the same flight with the Pope, confirmed that  the Pontif received a letter from President Maduro of Venezuela requesting mediation. The Pope clarified he received a letter from Venezuela’s President before leaving for Abu Dhabi, but he hasn’t had the opportunity to read it yet.

“I will open the letter. I will see what can be done, but the initial conditions are that both sides need to ask for it,” Francis underscored.  It must be requested or wanted by both parties,” he said.

AFP.

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