Pope Benedict XVI has urged an "immediate" end to hostilities in South Ossetia and the start of negotiations between Russia and Georgia over the contested province. Benedict called on all sides to refrain "from further confrontations and violent retaliations that could degenerate into a wider conflict." The pope spoke after a weekly Sunday prayer and urged the international community to "make every effort" to encourage both sides to reach a peaceful solution. He said Roman Catholics were joining Orthodox Christians in praying for such an outcome. Benedict spoke to a crowd in the Italian town of Bressanone.