ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER PAUL VI
Thursday, 15 December 1977
We deeply appreciate the kind expressions of His Excellency the President of the Syrian Arab Republic which you have transmitted. We ask you to assure him of our gratitude and of our fervent prayers for his welfare and for that of all the Syrian people.
Your Excellency has evoked the period when you were here on an earlier occasion, twenty-five years ago. The attitudes of many men and nations have undergone considerable changes in that time. Yet it has not sufficed for the growth of satisfactory understanding and trust between the peoples of the Middle East, which, as you have said, have continued to suffer terrible tragedies.
You mentioned especially the Palestinian people. They are of particular concern to us, since among others they have suffered and are suffering most. On various occasions we have declared our profound sympathy with them. We consider that, in spite of the deplorable acts of violence with which their cause is at times proposed to world attention, it ought to be given most serious and generous consideration.
However, all the people of the Middle East, without exception, are of deep concern to us, for all are suffering, not only in the repeated armed conflicts but also through the continued effects of the unsettled situation. We welcome your statement that your country is fully committed to a global solution by peaceful means, with the ultimate goal of the establishment of a just and lasting peace. We hope that all the parties involved will show in their deeds a sincere dedication to this cause and take the concrete steps possible to build up a favourable atmosphere and prepare the ground for progress towards the conclusion we long for.
Whatever aid can be offered by the Holy See towards the attainment of that goal will not be withheld. In the performance of your high mission as an ambassador, which is a mission of peace and understanding, Your Excellency can count on our wholehearted assistance and that of our collaborators. We ask God in his mercy and power to make it prosper for the good of all.
*AAS 70 (1978), p.127-128;
Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. XV, p.1206-1207;
L’Attivitą della Santa Sede, 1977 p.405;
OR 16.12.1977, p.1, 2;
ORa n.52 p.6.