Frustration in the Vatican after Zelensky rebuffs mediation
VATICAN CITY -- Following his meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday, Pope Francis continued to condemn the use of arms and encourage mediation at his weekly Angelus address, despite Zelensky's nullification of the pontiff's offer of mediation, said Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper.
Zelensky, during the meeting, stated that, "You cannot mediate with Putin, no country in the world can."
In addition, he stated that "it was an honor to meet with His Holiness, but he knows my position, the war is in Ukraine and the plan must be Ukranian. We are very interested in involving the Vatican in our formula for peace."
Zelensky's words undoubtedly were met with irritation by the pope and the Holy See's diplomacy who left the pope lonely in his attempt to arrive at mediation. The cardinal secretary of state, Pietro Parolin, did not attend the meeting due to other papal commitments, and was replaced by archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher.
The "formula for peace" mentioned by Zelensky calls for the withdrawal of Russian troops, the restoration of borders, the Russian signing of a treaty for the territorial integrity of Kiev, and an agreement with Western countries to supply defense instruments to Ukraine.
The formula, however, is not a mediation, but rather a structured plan to achieve victory, furthering Zelensky's nullification of the pope's strong feelings to simply mediate and a ceasefire.
At his Sunday address, the pope mentioned armed clashes between Israel and Palestine, stating that "innocent people, including women and children, have lost their lives," and that he "[hopes] that weapons will fall silent, because with weapons, security and stability will never be achieved."
He ended his message with a prayer to "alleviate the suffering of the tormented Ukraine and of all the nations wounded by wars and violence."
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