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Pope calls on Syria to respect citizens' 'legitimate aspirations'

By the CNN Wire Staff
In his Sunday address, Pope Benedict XVI called on Syrian authorities to recognize its citizens' "legitimate aspirations".
In his Sunday address, Pope Benedict XVI called on Syrian authorities to recognize its citizens' "legitimate aspirations".
  • Pope Benedict says he is renewing "a pressing appeal" for peace in Syria
  • He says he is following the situation in Syria "with strong concern"
  • Benedict also calls for international groups to bring peace to Libya
  • Syria
  • Libya
  • Pope Benedict XVI

(CNN) -- Pope Benedict XVI called Sunday for an end to violence in Syria and Libya, encouraging followers and international organizations to help bring the bloodshed to an end.

"I renew to the Syrian authorities and population a pressing appeal for the re-establishment as soon as possible of living together peacefully," as well as an "adequate response to the legitimate aspirations of the citizens, respecting their dignity and for the benefit of the region's stability," the pontiff said, according to a CNN translation.

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The pope said he was "following with strong concern the dramatic and growing episodes of violence in Syria, which have provoked numerous victims and grave suffering. I invite the Catholic faithful to pray so that the reconciliation efforts prevail over divisions and rancour."

"My thoughts also go to Libya, where the strength of the army has not resolved anything," Benedict added. "I exhort the International organizations and all of those politically and militarily responsible to relaunch with conviction and resolution the search for a peace plan for the country, through negotiations and constructive dialogue."

-CNN's Hada Messiah contributed to this report

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