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By Francis X. Rocca
Religion News Service

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI called for the establishment of “humanitarian corridors” between South Ossetia and the rest of Georgia, to facilitate aid to victims of the conflict between Georgia and Russia.
The pope made his remarks on Sunday (August 17), following his weekly public recitation of the Angelus prayer at Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence near Rome.
“I ask for the opening, without further delays, of humanitarian corridors between the region of southern Ossetia and the rest of Georgia, so that the already abandoned dead might receive a worthy burial, that the wounded might be adequately treated, and that those who desire it might be reunited with their loved ones.”
The conflict began on August 7, when Georgia sent troops into South Ossetia, a breakaway region whose population is dominated by ethnic Russians. Moscow responded three days later with an invasion of the region and other parts of Georgia.
While voicing hopes that the current cease-fire will lead to a “stable peace,” Benedict also demanded respect for the “fundamental rights” of the “ethnic minorities involved in the conflict.”
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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