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Pope Francis praises UN’s ‘road map’ for peace in Syria

Pope Francis (CNS)

Pope Francis has endorsed a recent UN resolution on peace in Syria and expressed “deep appreciation” to the international community for reaching an agreement.

The UN Security Council approved a road map for a peace process between opposition forces and the government of President Bashar Assad. The December 18 resolution calls for a ceasefire, the establishment of a unity government with a new constitution, and presidential elections within two years.

During his Angelus address on Sunday, the Pope called on the international community as well as those involved in the conflict to work toward bringing peace in the country, which has been in the grips of war for almost five years.

The conflict also has opened the door for terrorist groups, such as ISIS, to take over parts of the country and neighbouring Iraq to establish a caliphate while persecuting Christians and other religious minorities.

“I encourage everyone to continue, with a generous spirit of confident willingness, toward the cessation of violence and a negotiated settlement leading to peace,” the pope said.

The Pope also praised the establishment of a unity government in Libya, which has also been besieged by conflict since the ousting of long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi. ISIS has also taken advantage of the civil war in the country in order to expands their attacks into Europe.

“I likewise think of nearby Libya, where the recent working agreement among the parties for a government of national unity invites hope for the future,” Pope Francis said.