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Pope tells politicians they're accountable for peace

Pope John Paul on Tuesday called on world leaders to defuse the explosive situation in the Middle East, saying they would be held accountable for their actions.

The appeal, made in his peace message for 2003, came as the United States was preparing to deliver its final verdict on Iraq's weapons declaration and as Britain pushed for new negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.

Saying the world was in a state of "serious disorder", he called for "a new constitutional organisation of the human family" to make international leaders more accountable.

He stressed that he was not calling for the charter of a "global super-state" but a "deepening of processes already in place". But he said conflicts showed that international organisations sometimes seemed unable to sow lasting peace.

The pope painted the entire Middle East situation, particularly that in the Holy Land, as a study in tragedy made worse by political ineptitude.

"Perhaps nowhere today is there a more obvious need for the correct use of political authority than in the dramatic situation of the Middle East and the Holy Land," he said.

"The volatility of the situation is compounded by the clash of interests among the members of the international community. Until those in positions of responsibility undergo a veritable revolution in the way they use their power and go about securing their peoples' welfare, it is difficult to imagine how progress towards peace can be made," he said.

The pope made no specific reference in his message to the situation in Iraq but the Vatican has been following the situation closely and has stressed that any attack against the country must first have the approval of the United Nations.


In Message For 2003 World Day Of Peace, Pope Cites United Nations Defense Of Human Rights; Says Human Duties Also Need Attention (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)

The full text of the Message of His Holiness Pope John Paul II for the 2003 World Day of Peace

War's not the answer, theologian declares (Hans Kung - Miami Herald)
Beyond Baghdad (cover story, National Catholic Reporter)

18 Dec 2002