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Papal envoy sees Syrian refugees near despair, but some hope for peace talks

November 13, 2012

Cardinal Robert Sarah, who was sent to Lebanon as the Pope’s representative, has told Vatican Radio that many thousands of Syrian refugees are in dire need of basic material necessities: food, clothing, shelter, and medicine.

Cardinal Sarah, the president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, traveled to Lebanon to show the Vatican’s solidarity with the refugees, to meet with relief agencies, and to assess the situation in Syria. The cardinal also brought a $1 million contribution from the Pontiff, which he said was gratefully received—although it constituted only “a drop in the bucket” in terms of the refugees’ urgent needs.

After speaking with many Syrian refugees, the cardinal reported that the most serious problem was the sense of despair among the many—predominantly women and children—who had lost everything as they left their country.

Cardinal Sarah said that peace efforts in Syria may be more fruitful since rebel groups have joined to form one main opposition force. That unity, he said, should make peace talks less complicated. He encouraged the faithful to pray that the rebels would be receptive to offers for negotiation.


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