Pope calls for opening of aid corridors in Georgia

The pope said he was following with concern the situation in Georgia.

Pope calls for opening of aid corridors in Georgia

Pope Benedict called on Sunday for the urgent opening of humanitarian corridors between Georgia and the separatist region of South Ossetia to help the victims of the 10-day conflict there.

The pope said he was following with concern the situation in Georgia, particularly the plight of those displaced by the war and lacking "even the basics to survive".

According to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, nearly 100,000 people have been driven from their homes by the conflict.

"I call for the opening, without further delay, of humanitarian corridors between South Ossetia and the rest of Georgia so that the dead who are still abandoned can receive a proper burial, the wounded can be treated and people can rejoin their loved ones," the pope said.

He expressed hope that a French-brokered ceasefire between Georgian and Russian forces would turn into a stable peace and called for the rights of ethnic minorities in the region to be guaranteed.

Months of tension between Georgia and Russia erupted on Aug. 7 when Tbilisi launched an assault to seize back control of South Ossetia.

Moscow struck back, crushing the Georgian military in the first invasion by Russian forces of a former Soviet republic since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Reuters
Last Mod: 17 Ağustos 2008, 15:16
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