Nur-sultan (Kazakhstan), 13/09/2022.- Pope Francis is welcomed by the Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev during a welcome ceremony upon his arrival at Nur-Sultan International Airport, Kazakhstan, 13 September 2022. The Pope is planned to meet with President Tokayev and hold a meeting with participants in the VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. EFE/EPA/ALESSANDRO DI MEO

Pope issues plea for peace during papal visit to Kazakhstan

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Nur-Sultan, Sep 13 (EFE).- Pope Francis arrived in Kazakhstan Tuesday as a “pilgrim of peace” on a three-day visit taking place “while the senseless and tragic war caused by the invasion of Ukraine” continues and “while other confrontations and threats of conflict endanger our time.”

The pope traveled to the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan, to participate in the VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which will launch a message of peace from this former Soviet republic bordering Russia and where both Ukrainians and Russians live.

In his first public act after meeting with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Pope Francis presented himself to authorities and the diplomatic corps gathered at the Qazaq Concert Hall “as a pilgrim of peace, in search of dialogue and unity.”

“Our world urgently needs it, it needs to find harmony again,” he stressed.

In his speech, the pope recalled that Kazakhstan, which shares borders with China and Russia, “is configured as a crossroads of important geopolitical intersections, which therefore gives it a fundamental role in mitigating conflicts.”

Kazakhstan has remained neutral in the conflict and at the beginning of the war the Central Asian country offered to serve as a mediator.

John Paul II came here to sow hope, immediately after the tragic attacks of 2001,” the pope said in reference to the September 11 terror attacks in the United States, and now Pope Francis comes to this country, he added, “during the senseless and tragic war originated by the invasion of Ukraine, and while other confrontations and threats of conflicts endanger our time.”

“I come to amplify the cry of so many who implore peace, an essential development path for our globalized world,” he stressed.

He affirmed that the time has come “to avoid the intensification of rivalries and the strengthening of opposing blocs” and that the world needs leaders capable of understanding each other and who have the will to reinforce multilateralism.

“And to do this you need understanding, patience and dialogue with everyone. I repeat, with everyone,” he added.

 

EFE