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An air-strike in the city of al-Bab in northern Syria An air-strike in the city of al-Bab in northern Syria   (AFP or licensors)

Pope reiterates appeal for global ceasefire, calls for peace in the Caucasus

Pope Francis reiterates his appeal for a global ceasefire to allow conflict-torn populations to receive humanitarian aid, and expresses concern for renewed violence in the Caucasus region.

By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis on Sunday appealed for a global ceasefire to combat the coronavirus pandemic that continues to claim lives and wreak havoc on the economy.

Speaking during the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said “In this time in which the pandemic continues, I want to assure all those suffering from the illness of my thoughts and prayers.”

 

He said his thoughts “go especially to those populations that find themselves in situations of conflict”, adding that “following the recent United Nations resolution I renew my appeal for a global and immediate ceasefire so the necessary humanitarian assistance can be received.

On 1 July, the UN Security Council echoed the Secretary-General’s call for a worldwide ceasefire, to combat the coronavirus pandemic that has already claimed more than half a million lives.

Flare-up of violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia

The Pope then expressed his concern for the flare-up of violence in the Caucasus region and called on the International Community to engage in mediation.

He said he is distressed by news from the Caucasus, and for those who have lost their lives, adding: “I hope that with the dedication of the international community there may be a lasting solution for the good of those beloved peoples.”

Armed clashes involving tanks and artillery on the border between north-eastern Armenia and Azerbaijan have raised fears of an outbreak of war between the two Caucasus nations.

At least 12 soldiers and one civilian from Azerbaijan are dead, as are four soldiers from Armenia. Many others are wounded.

Both Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of having violated the ceasefire between their countries.

The clashes have taken place not in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, but along an internationally-recognized border between the two countries.

19 July 2020, 12:38