Pope reiterates call for peace during visit to Italian port city

Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday renewed his call for cooperation and peace among peoples, especially those in the Middle East and in Mediterranean countries. The pope delivered his message during a visit to this southern port city, once an affluent harbor for trade with Greece and the Middle East and today a launching pad for humanitarian operations to troubled areas. "I wish to renew the Christian message for cooperation and peace among all peoples, especially among those that surround this sea - an ancient cradle of civilization - and those in the Near and Middle East," he told the faithful gathered in a large industrial space by the city's ferry port. Quoting from his own speech to the United Nations in April, Benedict said conflict resolution should be sought "by exploring any possible diplomatic way, by paying attention and giving encouragement to the weakest signs of dialogue and desire for reconciliation." The crowd - an estimated 70,000 people - cheered as Benedict arrived in his popemobile waving and smiling. The pope celebrated an open-air Mass and delivered the Sunday Angelus prayer.