Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin reaffirmed the Holy See’s commitment to contribute to the alleviation of the sufferings of the Ukrainian people who have been subjected to war with Russia for the past 18 months.
In particular, Cardinal Parolin said he upholds a Plan for Peace presented by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, especially in regard to humanitarian issues and he pledged to pursue efforts aiming to return prisoners and children to Ukraine.
Talks on Ukraine’s plan for peace took place in Malta on 28 and 29 October with the participation of more than 65 countries. Russia was not invited.
In a video message to the meeting, Cardinal Parolin remarked on the fact that this initiative for peace has been the focus of continued discussion since its introduction at the G20 Summit in November 2022. It was the third round of talks gathering national security delegates in recent months, with Kyiv asking for international support for the President’s 10-point peace plan.
“It is a commendable effort, one worthy of support not only because it is aimed at offering a concrete response to various types of damage caused by the war, but also because it encourages us not to consider armed confrontation as an unavoidable tool for resolving conflicts,” the Cardinal said.
This, he added, “is the underlying truth that the Holy See has repeatedly proclaimed in the face of the wars that have torn the world apart in the most recent periods of history.”
The Pope’s call to action
Recalling Pope Francis’ repeated calls for peace, “both in his countless interventions and through actions on behalf of Ukraine,” the Secretary of State reminded those present of the Holy Father’s invitation to everyone to ask themselves explicitly: “What am I doing today for the Ukrainian people? Am I doing something?”.
A common responsibility
Cardinal Parolin noted that the fact that representatives of many States and international organizations were present at the meeting shows that “we are not resigned to accepting the tragedy unfolding before our eyes and that we have the courage to face it. “
“Finding a solution is not the responsibility of Ukraine alone; it is a common responsibility,” he added.
The Cardinal decried the fact that despite the work of international bodies to ensure that “Ukraine can defend the integrity of its territory, provide its citizens with safety and the necessities of life, and achieve a much-desired peace,” this is still not the case.
Need for greater commitment
He asked for greater and “more creative” commitment at all levels “to overcome obstacles and open paths that currently seem unacceptable or impossible.”
The Secretary of State reiterated the Holy See’s appeals for respect for international law, especially concerning territorial integrity, and said it “encourages all initiatives aimed at seeking a just and stable peace in Ukraine.”
Finally, the Cardinal expressed the Holy See’s support “, especially for resolving humanitarian issues, such as food security and preservation of the natural environment,” and reaffirmed the Holy See’s commitment to “continue its efforts aimed at alleviating the sufferings of the Ukrainian people and the return of prisoners and children to Ukraine.”