The Vatican said in a statement that Zuppi, 67, will be on a mission in coordination with the Vatican Secretariat of State “to help reduce the tensions of the conflict in Ukraine, in the hope that the Holy Father will not go there. will never give up”. it could trigger a peace process. »
A diplomatic source at the Vatican told Reuters that Zuppi would try to meet Zelenskyy and Putin separately.
Pope Francis first mentioned the “peace mission” when he returned from a trip to Hungary in April, but did not provide further details.
“Now work is underway on the mission, but it has not yet been made public. When it is made public, I will reveal it,” the pontiff told reporters at the time.
On Saturday, the Vatican said the timing and details of the mission were still being worked out.
Zuppi is a member of the Community of Sant’Egidio, a Roman peace and justice group that brokered an agreement in 1992 that ended Mozambique’s civil war. The conflict in this African country has killed an estimated one million people and forced an estimated four million people to flee their homes.
Pope Francis elevated Matteo Zuppi to the rank of cardinal in 2019, and last year Zuppi was elected head of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
Recently, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said that “the time has come to take the initiative to establish a just peace in Ukraine”.
In 2003, the late Pope John Paul II sent senior officials to Washington and Baghdad in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent a war in Iraq.
Zelenskyy met Pope Francis at the Vatican last Saturday but appeared to play down the possibility of papal mediation, Reuters notes.
“With all due respect to His Holiness, we don’t need mediators, we need a just peace…Putin just kills. We don’t need to mediate with him,” Zelenskyy told Italian television.
The Vatican’s statement on the day of Zelenskyy’s visit was silent on such a mission, and Zelenskyy said he asked the pope to support Kiev’s own peace plan, which calls for the restoration of the territorial integrity of Kiev. Ukraine, the withdrawal of Russian troops and the cessation of hostilities. .
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