Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pontifical Academy for Sciences calls for Iranian participation in Geneva II

An immediate ceasefire, the creation of a humanitarian corridor, and participation in Geneva II of all parties involved in the Syrian conflict, including Iran, are some of points included in a plan deliberated by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences ahead of the peace conference in Geneva on 22 January. 

Addressed to the international community, the plan is the result of a workshop held in Rome that saw the participation of the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Card Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences Mgr Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, former Egyptian Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, and UN special envoy for the Sahel Romano Prodi.

The statement issued by the Pontifical Academy reiterates a plan Mgr Dominique Mamberti, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, had presented to the ambassadors accredited to the Holy See.

The letter outlining the plan was released a few days before the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Syria the pope had called for in St Peter's Square on 7 September.

The workshop's main points include:

1) "Immediate cessation of violence" without "political preconditions."

2) Disarming local fighters and ensuring that foreign powers take appropriate measures to stop the funding that is fuelling the escalation of violence and destruction.

3) "Start of humanitarian assistance and reconstruction" with the economic and human support of the international community.

4) Giving young people and the poor a privileged role in the recovery process.

5) Promoting interreligious dialogue and reconciliation between the communities to rebuild trust after years of violence.

6) "Geneva II needs to ensure inclusive participation of all parties to this conflict, within the region and beyond. Of particular note is the vital importance of the recent agreement reached between Iran, with the permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany, to find an agreement on Iran's nuclear program."

7) Creating "new political forms" to "ensure representation, participation, reform, and the voice and security of all social groups."

8) "Transformation" of the political system.

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