Pope appeals for safety of civilians
Published 21/03/2011 | 05:00
POPE Benedict XVI yesterday appealed to military and political leaders to consider the safety of Libyan civilians and ensure they have access to emergency aid.
In his first comments on the conflict, delivered at his traditional Sunday blessing, Benedict said the hostilities had sparked "great fear and alarm in me" and said he was praying for peace.
The Vatican has been remarkably quiet about the decision to authorise military force in Libya.
In the run-up to the Iraq war eight years ago, Pope John Paul II voiced emphatic opposition to US-led military action.
Meanwhile, the air strikes have been condemned by the head of a regional group for Arab states, as well as China, Russia and India.
The criticisms by the Arab League in particular risk undermining the legitimacy of the military action taken by France, Britain, Canada and the US.
A week ago, the Arab League had said that Colonel Gaddafi's regime had "lost legitimacy" as it sought to crush the uprising sweeping Libya. But after Saturday's missile launches, the Arab League's Secretary General, Amr Moussa, said: "What we want is the protection of civilians. We requested only that a no-fly zone be set up to protect civilians and avert any other developments." (© Daily Telegraph, London)