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In Easter message, pope urges diplomacy in Libya

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI urged an end to fighting in Libya, using his Easter Sunday message to call for diplomacy and peace in the Middle East.

Benedict also said that politics in North Africa and the Middle East should be based on respect for all.

"In the current conflict in Libya, may diplomacy and dialogue replace arms, and may those who suffer as a result of the conflict be given access to humanitarian aid," he said.

Referring to northern Africa and the Middle East, the pope prayed for the realization of a society where "every political choice is inspired by respect for the human person."

Benedict celebrated Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square, packed with pilgrims and tourists and awash in the bright colors of spring flowers as he marked the church's most joyous day of the year. Christians worldwide on Easter recall Jesus' resurrection, a sign of eternal life, following his crucifixion.

But while "in heaven, all is peace and gladness," Benedict said in his message delivered after the Mass from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, "alas, it is not so on earth," as he lamented hunger, disease, war and violence.


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