Pope backs UN for Syria, Libya peace deals

Pope Francis expresses support to UN efforts for Syria and Libya over peace processes during Christmas Day prayer

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Pope Francis standing on a balcony of St Peter's basilica during the traditional "Urbi et Orbi" Christmas message to the city and the world at the Vatican on December 25, 2015

Pope Francis expressed his support to the United Nations for the effort it’s putting into ending the conflicts in Syria and Libya during his Christmas Day prayer on Friday.

"We pray... that the agreement reached in the United Nations may succeed in halting as quickly as possible the clash of arms in Syria and in remedying the extremely grave humanitarian situation of its suffering people," he said.

A week ago, the UN Security Council agreed to a political transition in Syria.

The unanimously adopted resolution by the council requires a ceasefire to start at the beginning of January across Syria.

It doesn’t touch on the fate of Bashar al Assad, who is backed by Russia - one of the five permanent members of the council with the power to veto.

The pope also said that "It is likewise urgent that the agreement on Libya be supported by all, so as to overcome the grave divisions and violence afflicting the country."

"May the attention of the international community be unanimously directed to ending the atrocities which in those countries, as well as in Iraq, Libya, Yemen and sub-Saharan Africa, even now reap numerous victims, cause immense suffering and do not even spare the historical and cultural patrimony of entire peoples," he continued his speech in reference to DAESH terrorist group without naming it.

The UN Security Council on Wednesday approved the agreement that was signed last week between the two factions of Libya which aims to form a unity government.

The two factions are the General National Assembly, based in Tripoli, and the House of Representatives, based in the eastern coastal cities of Benghazi and Tobruk.

Libya has been facing a violent streak of unrest since long-time autocrat Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011.

And in Syria, at least 250,000 people have died and millions have fled their homes since the conflict broke out in 2011.

In 2015 the world experienced the largest refugee crisis since World War Two.

During his Christmas speech, Pope Francis also prayed for those who provided shelter to the refugees.

"May God repay all those, both individuals and states, who generously work to provide assistance and welcome to the numerous migrants and refugees," he said.

The pope praised all who have helped the refugees "to build a dignified future for themselves and for their dear ones, and to be integrated in the societies which receive them."

TRTWorld and agencies