The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, views “with great concern” the recent Houthi rebel attacks in the Red Sea, the escalation of violence in Gaza, and the Iranian missile assault on Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan.
He expressed the fear that, “if contrary measures are not taken,” there could be “an expansion, an escalation” of the conflict, saying this is “exactly what we want to avoid.”
Cardinal Parolin shared the Holy See’s position with reporters on Wednesday afternoon at an event at the Italian Senate dedicated to the late Cardinal Achille Silvestrini.
“The danger is there,” said the Cardinal. “Passions are running so high, and the situation is delicate… We must ensure that everyone tries to control their reactions so that there is not a general outbreak of conflict.”
Pope’s concern at General Audience
Earlier on Wednesday, Pope Francis also expressed his concern for the expansion of the Israel-Hamas war, as he spoke at the weekly General Audience.
He expressed his closeness to “the victims, all civilians, of the rocket attack that hit an urban area of Erbil, capital of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan.”
“Good relations between neighbours are not built with such actions, but with dialogue and cooperation,” said the Pope. “I ask everyone to avoid any step that increases tension in the Middle East and other warzones.”
Two peoples, two States is ‘the solution’
Speaking to reporters, Cardinal Parolin reiterated the Holy See’s position of a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.
“For us, two peoples and two states continue to be the solution,” said the Cardinal. “The important thing is also there to find a way to encourage dialogue.”
Holy See’s humanitarian efforts in Ukraine
Cardinal Parolin went on to consider the Holy See’s efforts to seek peace and humanitarian solutions in Ukraine.
“We have limited ourselves, at least so far, to the humanitarian dimension,” he said. “One of the ten points of Zelensky’s peace platform deals with humanitarian issues, and that is where the Holy See focuses its effort.”
Regarding the high-level Peace Conference requested by Ukrainian President Zelensky in Davos, as he spoke at the World Economic Forum, Cardinal Parolin explained that the Holy See would take part if it occurs, as it has at the three previous editions (the last in Saudi Arabia).