BY Ian Dunn | March 30 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Papal envoy heads to Ivory Coast

Pope Benedict XVI tells general audience that he is sending Cardinal Peter Turkson to troubled region

At his general audience today Pope Benedict XVI announced that he has sent Cardinal Peter Turkson (above) as his envoy to the Ivory Coast in light of the recent violence there.

Recent days have seen growing violence in the west African nation between supporters between incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to stand down, and President-elect Alassane Ouattara who won last year’s election.

Speaking in French, the Holy Farther called upon both sides to lay down arms immediately.

“For some time now, my thoughts have often turned to the people of Ivory Coast, traumatised by painful internal strife and serious social and political tensions,” he said. “While I express my closeness to all those who have lost a loved one and suffer from violence, I urgently appeal a process of constructive dialogue be undertaken as soon as possible for the common good. The dramatic opposition makes the restoration of respect and peaceful coexistence more urgent. No effort should be spared in this regard.”

To that end the Pope said he was sending one of his most trusted advisors to the majority Catholic nation.

“With these sentiments, I have decided to send Cardinal Peter Turkson Kodwo, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to this noble country to express my solidarity and that of the universal Church to victims of conflict and to promote reconciliation and peace,” the Holy Father said.

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