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Pope expresses hopes for Cyprus reunification talks

Pope Francis poses with diplomats accredited to the Holy See at the end of the traditional exchange of the New Year greetings, in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican

Pope Francis on Thursday expressed the support of the Holy See with the efforts towards the reunification of Cyprus.

The Pope referred to Cyprus in his annual speech that has come to be known as his ‘State of the World’ address to ambassadors accredited to the Vatican.

In his speech he gave an overview of 2019 and focused on wars, global warming, xenophobia towards migrants and the danger of nuclear weapons.

As regards Europe, he stressed the importance of supporting dialogue and respect for international legitimacy in resolving ‘frozen conflicts’ that continue to exist on the continent, some of which have been in need for solution for decades.

“In the same context, I would also like to express the support of the Holy See to the negotiations for the reunification of Cyprus, which can increase regional co-operation, promoting stability throughout the Mediterranean region,” the pontiff said.

He also urged the United States and Iran to avoid escalation and pursue “dialogue and self-restraint” to avert a wider conflict in the Middle East.

The Pope also thanked Cyprus’ ambassador to the Holy See, George Poulidis, for the wishes he extended to him on behalf of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.

Poulidis has been the dean of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See since last May.

During his official visit to the Vatican last November, President Nicos Anastasiades extended an invitation to Cyprus to the Pope for this year, which has been accepted by the pontiff.

If the pope visits the island this year, it will mark a decade since his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, was in Cyprus. The Pope’s visit would also coincide with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus.


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