Pope Calls for Prayers for Mideast Peace Efforts


VATICAN CITY, APRIL 14, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II again appealed for prayers for the success of peace efforts under way in the Middle East.

At the end of today's Mass for the proclamation of six new blessed, the Holy Father greeted thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, and requested prayers for "all those suffering in the Holy Land."

John Paul II revealed he is receiving "appeals from all sides."

"I assure everyone of my spiritual and human solidarity, while I invite all to pray so that the efforts under way to re-establish respect for persons and property and to foster the advent of a just and lasting peace, will be crowned with success," the Pope said.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell revealed that a "useful and constructive" meeting was held with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, in the latter's offices, which are surrounded by Israeli troops.

Powell and Arafat discussed the possibility of a cease-fire to put an end to 18 months of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Powell met later in Jerusalem with Israeli President Moshe Katsav and then was meeting in Tel Aviv with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon again.