Pope calls for suspension of use of arms in Libya

VATICAN CITY, (Reuters) – Pope Benedict called today for the “suspension of the use of arms” in the Libya  crisis and expressed concern for civilian populations, an appeal  that appeared to include the use of outside force.
Speaking at his Sunday blessing, he said he was addressing  his appeal to “international bodies”, and “those who hold  military and political responsibility” and did not speak of a  “ceasefire” between opposing Libyan factions.
He said he was praying for a return of peace in Libya and  the entire North African region.
“I appeal to international bodies and whose who hold  military and political responsibility for an immediate start of  a dialogue that suspends the use of arms,” he told pilgrims and  tourists in St. Peter’s Square.
In his most comprehensive and political comments since the  Libya crisis began, he said he was increasingly worried about  the “safety and security of civilian populations” and lamented  that the current situation was “under the sign of the use of  weapons”.
Armed forces of Western nations including the United States,  France and Britain have been pounding forces loyal to Muammar  Gaddafi to prevent further bloodshed in the Libyan leader’s  violent crackdown of a popular revolt.
Thousands of people have been killed in the uprising,  according to Western estimates.

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