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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, January 22, 2018

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Pope Francis highlights worldwide conflicts in Easter message, urges peace

Prayers for recent victims of violence and persecution

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis delivered his Easter message at St. Peter's square on Sunday, asking for the end of bloodshed and prayers for recent victims of violence and persecution.

In his "Urbi et Orbi" address, Latin for "to the city [of Rome] and to the world," he highlighted the crises in Syria and Iraq.

"We ask for peace, above all, for Syria and Iraq: that the roar of arms may cease and that peaceful relations be restored among the various groups which make up those beloved countries," he said to the crowd on the rainy day. "May the international community not stand by before the immense humanitarian tragedy unfolding in these countries and the drama of the numerous refugees."

The pope urged for peace and diplomacy in other conflicted parts of the world including Yemen, Nigeria, South Sudan and for "beloved Ukraine."

He spoke of the nuclear agreement with Iran, hoping it would be "a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world."

As for Israeli and Palestinian relations, the pope urged for "the peace process [to] be resumed, in order to end years of suffering and division."

The pontiff also mentioned the al-Shabab attack on the Garissa University College in Kenya, where at least 147 people died Thursday.

"May constant prayer rise up from all people of goodwill for those who lost their lives -- I think in particular of the young people who were killed last Thursday at Garissa University College in Kenya,"

The pope spoke of economic oppression. He has previously called for the "legitimate redistribution" of wealth.

"We ask for peace and freedom for the many men and women subject to old and new forms of enslavement on the part of criminal individuals and groups," he said, also urging for peace from drug dealers, corrupt officials and weapons dealers.

He ended his address by consoling people who are marginalized, poor, sick or suffering, and wished everyone a happy Easter.Andrew V. Pestano

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