In Easter message, pope backs Syria peace plan

By REUTERS
April 8, 2012 15:09

VATICAN CITY - A fatigued-looking Pope Benedict threw his weight behind a United Nations plan to end bloodshed in Syria in his Easter Sunday message, calling for "an immediate commitment" to peace efforts there.

The 84-year-old pope gave a shorter-than-usual blessing from the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica after an outdoor Easter Mass attended by more than 100,000 people in a St Peter's Square bedecked with yellow and white flowers.

"May the risen Christ grant hope to the Middle East and enable all the ethnic, cultural and religious groups in that region to work together to advance the common good and respect for human rights," he said.

"Particularly in Syria, may there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation, as called for by the international community," he said, speaking to a festive crowd packed into the square and surrounding streets.


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