Vatican Offers to ‘Facilitate Negotiations’ Between Russia and Ukraine

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin holds his glasses as he is welcomed by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for a meeting at the Bellevue palace in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, June 29, 2021.
Michael Sohn/AP

ROME — Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin told Italian journalists late Sunday that the Holy See is ready to “facilitate negotiations” between Russia and Ukraine.

Asked about a possible spread of the Russia-Ukraine conflict to other parts of Europe or the start of a new cold war, Cardinal Parolin said he does not “even dare to think about it.”

“It would be a catastrophe of gigantic proportions, even if, unfortunately, it is not an outcome that can be entirely ruled out,” the cardinal declared, adding that recent comparisons between the current situation and incidents that preceded the Second World War “make you shudder.”

“We must avoid any escalation, stop the war and negotiate,” Parolin asserted. “The eventual return to a new cold war with two opposing blocs is also a disturbing scenario.”

“I am convinced that there is still and always room for negotiation. It is never too late, because the only reasonable and constructive way to settle the differences is through dialogue,” the cardinal stated.

The Holy See, which has attentively followed the events in Ukraine in recent years, “offering its willingness to facilitate dialogue with Russia, is always ready to help the parties to resume this path,” the cardinal said.

No matter what, the path to follow is “to stop the fighting and return to negotiations,” Parolin insisted. “The military attack must be stopped immediately, the tragic consequences of which we are all witnesses.”

The cardinal concluded with diplomatic words, refusing to lay the blame for the conflict on either party and calling instead for mutual listening.

“Once again we see that mutual communication and listening are needed to fully know and understand the reasons of others,” he said. “When we stop communicating and listening to each other sincerely, we look at each other with suspicion and we end up exchanging only mutual accusations.”

“The developments of the last few years and, in particular, of the last few months have done nothing but fuel mutual deafness leading to open conflict,” he added, suggesting that both parties bear some responsibility for the invasion.

“The aspirations of each country and their legitimacy must be the subject of a common reflection, in a wider context and, above all, taking into account the choices of the citizens themselves and in compliance with international law,” he said.


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