Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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The Pope offers himself as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine

The Pope, during a mass. / AFP

Cardinal Parolin has a telephone conversation with Lavrov to express the availability of the Vatican to facilitate the talks

After the Pope announced last Sunday, during the Angelus prayer, that he was sending two cardinals to the border with Ukraine with humanitarian aid for the refugees, this Tuesday the Vatican has taken another step to try to help resolve the conflict with the telephone call between the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov. In the conversation, the ‘number two’ of the Roman Curia conveyed Francis’ “deep concern” about the war in Ukraine.

In particular, the cardinal asked the head of Russian diplomacy to stop the attacks, ensure humanitarian corridors and use negotiation to resolve the differences between Moscow and Kiev. He even expressed the availability of the Holy See to facilitate talks between the two parties. The Pope, who already showed on Sunday that the Vatican was willing to do “everything to put itself at the service of peace” in Ukraine, could even personally mediate between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodimir Zelensky. .

This possibility was recognized by Parolin in an interview with the Italian Catholic weekly ‘Famiglia Cristiana’. The Holy See’s proposal to act as a mediator does not pursue “own interests nor does it impose modalities or conditions.” Its only condition is that the “freedom and responsibility” of the parties be recognized and that they accept the Vatican intervention. “What matters to us is that Russia and Ukraine launch serious and constructive talks to find an agreed solution,” Parolin stressed.

If the Vatican were finally to act as mediator, it could benefit from the good experience gained in facilitating negotiations in two recent conflicts. The Holy See played a prominent role in helping the United States and Cuba normalize their relations in 2014 and also helped promote the peace agreement signed by the Government of Colombia with the FARC guerrillas in 2016.

In the telephone conversation with Parolin on Tuesday, Lavrov explained Moscow’s position and assured that the measures adopted by his government seek to protect the civilian population. Both agreed that the talks between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations be held as soon as possible to try to find a negotiated solution to the conflict.

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