Papal Envoy appeals for Syrian peace negotiations

2012-11-13 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Robert Sarah paints a dramatic picture of the situation of refugees fleeing war in Syria. He says the Pope’s 1 million dollar donation in support of the church's humanitarian response to the crisis is highly appreciated.

Reporting on his just ended mission as special Papal envoy, Cardinal Sarah, President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, speaks of the predicament of the refugees in Lebanon and of his hopes for a speedy solution to the crisis. Vatican Radio's Linda Bordoni reports...


Deeply affected by the despair and the conditions of Syrian Refugees who have fled bloodshed in their country, and are sheltered in refugee camps in North Eastern Lebanon, Cardinal Sarah says tens of thousands of people are in dire need of basic necessities.

Food, medicine, water, electricity as well as warm clothing and heating are top priorities. In an interview with Vatican Radio he says the money donated by the Pope is a drop in the ocean, a much appreciated drop which can make a real difference to the lives of Christian and Muslim refugees who have lost all. He recounts his pain at witnessing their despair, a large majority of them – he points out - women, children and babies.

Of the 1 million dollars donated by Benedict XVIth, 700 thousand have been given to the local Caritas organizations to bring immediate relief to Syrian refugees. The remaining 300 thousand have been destined to aid for Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

During his mission Cardinal Sarah also conferred with Lebanese authorities, religious leaders and regional Caritas presidents gathered to discuss and coordinate aid efforts for the increasing Syrian refugee crisis.

In the interview he expresses his hope that the international community take up a mediation role and says that the fact that Syrian opposition factions have joined ranks should make it easier to single out an interlocutor. Threfore, Cardinal Sarah says, the international community must take heed of the Pope’s words and unite to find a solution for peace in Syria. “We must pray” he says “we must not exclude God from the process. That’s why Benedict’s voice, his daily appeal to pray for Syria, is important” so that this new opposition front be open to dialogue with the help of the international community”.