The assembly of the Ethiopian-Eritrean Bishops Conference has been postponed indefinitely due to the conflict between the two Horn of Africa nations.
   Missionary news agency MISNA said the conference was due to take place in Rome this week, but the war had prevented some of the bishops from travelling to Rome.
   Seven out of 11 bishops have been able to reach Rome, and will celebrate a special Mass at the Church of St. Maria degli Angeli on Friday with Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and Cardinal Paulos Tzadua, emeritus Archbishop of Asmara. For the occasion, the bishops are drafting a statement demanding the immediate end of the bloody border conflict between their respective countries.
   The Catholic Bishops of Eritrea and Ethiopia form one conference, dating from when they were united as one nation, and last year they also met in Rome because the Ethiopian bishops are not allowed to enter Eritrea and the bishops of Eritrea are not allowed in Ethiopia.
   Meanwhile the Holy See Press Office published a message from the Eritrean Bishops Conference calling attention to the situation in the countries, where "entire regions have been transformed into one battleground", and "cities and villages are constantly being bombarded".
   The communique said: "Shepherds of a people which is now suffering the consequences of a war it has never wanted, we limit ourselves to one observation: a single day of delay may mean the extinction of an entire people."
23 May 00


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