Vatican Group: Stop Arms to Syria

A man runs while carrying a child who survived what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad in Aleppo Jan. 21. (CNS photo/Ammar Abdullah, Reuters)

A Vatican study group is urging world leaders to stop the flow of arms into Syria and to press for an immediate and complete cease-fire there without political preconditions. “Political transformation is needed,” its written statement said, but “it is not a precondition for ending violence; rather it will accompany the cessation of violence and the rebuilding of trust.” Once greater trust and cooperation are built, “new political forms in Syria are needed to ensure representation, participation, reform and the voice and security of all social groups,” it said. The statement was based on discussion during a day-long, closed-door workshop hosted on Jan. 13 by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences. The statement, addressed to Pope Francis, was also meant to help inform leaders taking part in U.N.-backed peace talks scheduled to begin in Geneva on Jan. 22.

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