Pope Francis has called for an 'urgent' need for a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis. Speaking on the first day of a visit to the Middle East, the Pontiff also called for a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Pope was speaking in Amman following a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II.
According to Sky News, King Abdullah praised the Pope for his 'humanity and wisdom', saying his visit would help ease the suffering of the Syrian refugees and the burden of host countries like Jordan where most have fled. Pope Francis then held a public mass in Amman's main sports stadium, attended by around 25,000 people, many of whom were Christian refugees who have fled Syria and Iraq.
The visit will last just over 48 hours, but in that time the Pope will also visit the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Israel, hold talks with national leaders and deliver 13 speeches or homilies, the report said. The Vatican said the aim of the visit is to raise awareness of the exodus of Christians from the region in the face of increasing persecution, as well as to call for greater unity between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.
In an effort to promote inter-religious dialogue, the Pope will be accompanied by a Rabbi and an Imam, both close friends from his home city of Buenos Aires in Argentina.