By Robin Gomes
The Holy See is urging the Middle East to make more efforts in promoting a “dialogue for a culture of tolerance, acceptance of others and of living together peacefully”.
“This is a critical moment in which all countries of the region must not squander peaceful advances by falling back into hostilities sparked by the simmering conflicts of the regional powers,” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York, on Tuesday.
Speaking at a Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East, he noted that the lack of unity between Israelis and Palestinians as well internal divisions were abetting an environment of distrust and violence that put the lives of innocent people at risk and negatively impact the tension in the wider Middle East.
Action, he said, is needed on reaching the much sought after two-State solution within internationally recognized borders between Israel and the Palestine State.
The Filipino archbishop said that UN members states can help by encouraging both sides to return to the negotiating table and offer them space and resources to commit themselves to dialogue for their own peaceful future.
Archbishop Auza also noted that in certain parts of Syria there is a high risk of a worsening humanitarian crisis. He said, “We cannot be deaf to the cries of those lacking food, medical care and schooling, or to those of orphans, widows and the wounded.
In this regard, the Vatican diplomat cited the Holy Father’s recent letter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in which he particularly recalled the dramatic conditions facing the civilian population in Idlib. The Pope also called for their protection and for the respect of international humanitarian law.
The Holy See official spoke about the worsening humanitarian situation in Yemen with the lack of provisions and essential supplies. “How can we make eloquent appeals for peace in the Middle East and even commit to humanitarian action while at the same time continuing to permit the sale of arms in the region?” he asked.
Iraq, Gulf region
In Iraq, after the unspeakable crimes that the Islamic State terrorists ISIL inflicted especially on the religious and ethnic minority communities, Archbishop Auza hoped for reconciliation and reconstruction “through the peaceful and shared pursuit of the common good on the part of all elements of society.” He also called on the international community to seek every opportunity for negotiations and peaceful solutions to current crises in the Gulf region.