Vatican 'ready to help' negotiations with Russia

AFP , Monday 28 Feb 2022

The Vatican is "ready to help" negotiations to stop the war in Ukraine after Moscow's invasion, Pope Francis's number two said in interviews published Monday.

Pope Francis and Russian President Vladimir Putin
File Photo: Pope Francis meets Russian President Vladimir Putin on the occasion of their private audience at the Vatican on June 10, 2015. AP

"The Holy See, which in recent years has followed the events in Ukraine constantly, discreetly and with great attention, offering its availability to facilitate dialogue with Russia, is always ready to help the parties to resume that path," Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said.

An escalation of the conflict to involve other countries "would be a catastrophe of gigantic proportions", he said in an interview with several Italian dailies, including the Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica.

The possible return of a Cold War was "also a disturbing scenario," he said.

"I am convinced that there is always room for negotiation. It is never too late! Because the only reasonable and constructive way to settle differences is through dialogue," he said.

"We must avoid any escalation, stop the clashes and negotiate," Parolin added.

Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, called Sunday for an end to the fighting, saying: "Let the weapons fall silent... God is with those who seek peace, not those resorting to violence."

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