Lasting peace requires all warring parties in dialogue, cardinal says

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, speaks during a summit on peace in Ukraine held in Stansstad, Switzerland, June 16, 2024. Heads of state from around the world gathered at a resort in central Switzerland for a June 15-16 summit to kick-start a peace process. (CNS photo/KEYSTONE/EDA/POOL/Alessandro della Valle) Photo courtesy of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland

VATICAN CITY (CNS) ─ The only way to achieve true, stable and just peace is by having all sides of a conflict involved in dialogue, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said at a peace summit in Switzerland.

"The Holy See expresses its hope that the diplomatic effort currently being promoted by Ukraine and supported by so many countries will be improved, in order to achieve the results that the victims deserve and that the entire world is hoping for," he said in his speech June 16.

Upon Ukraine's request, Switzerland organized a Summit on Peace in Ukraine, which was held at a resort overlooking Lake Lucerne in the Canton of Nidwalden June 15-16. Switzerland invited more than 160 heads of state and other government leaders to kick-start a peace process by developing "a common understanding of a path towards a just and lasting peace in Ukraine."

About 100 delegations, including 57 heads of state and governments, attended the conference. Russia, which escalated its attacks on Ukraine with a full-scale assault in 2022, was not invited after it had indicated multiple times it had no interest in participating, and China, repeatedly called on by international leaders to use its leverage to bring Russia to the negotiating table, was also absent.

Cardinal Parolin, who led the Vatican delegation, said, "It is important to reiterate that the only means capable of achieving true, stable and just peace is dialogue between all the parties involved."

"In the face of war and its tragic consequences, it is important never to give up, but to continue to seek ways to end the conflict with good intentions, trust and creativity," he said, praising Ukraine for working "continuously on the diplomatic front, eager to achieve a just and lasting peace" all while it is "making enormous efforts to defend itself from aggression."

The Vatican is deeply concerned about "the tragic humanitarian consequences" of the war "and is especially committed to facilitating the repatriation of children and encouraging the release of prisoners, especially seriously wounded soldiers and civilians" by maintaining direct contact and communication with both Ukrainian and Russian authorities, he said.

"The reunification of minors with their families or legal guardians must be a paramount concern for all parties, and any exploitation of their situation is unacceptable. It is therefore imperative that every available channel is strengthened to facilitate this process," he said.

The Vatican "remains prepared to assist in the implementation of potential mediation initiatives that are acceptable to all parties and benefit those who have been affected," he said, encouraging all nations and members of the international community "to explore ways of providing assistance and facilitating mediation, whether of a humanitarian or political nature."

"We trust that by supporting these efforts, we can help to find consensus and ensure the timely implementation of these projects," he said.

The Vatican participated in the summit as an observer state and, as such, did not sign the final joint communiqué on a peace framework meant to be the basis for a peace agreement to end Russia's two-year war.



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