Nor is the Mediterranean region exempt from strong tensions causing violence and death. I am thinking of the grave events which have affected Algeria, and the serious difficulties which are endangering the peace process in the Middle East, begun just over a year ago in Madrid. Since fresh violence and armed interventions could compromise the efforts of dialogue and peace which have been made in recent months, to all those engaged in the process I renew my appeal to renounce acts of force and a fait accompli policy. In this way it will be easier to progress along the path of peace, thanks to negotiation and sincere and trusting dialogue, in order to go beyond the stage of mere meetings. A new climate of respect and understanding is proving more than ever needed in this part of the world.
Moreover, it will be a factor of equilibrium and pacification for the neighboring countries, for example Lebanon and Cyprus, where unsolved problems are still preventing the people from looking to the future with confidence. Nor can we forget that war has long-term consequences, and that it forces innocent civilians to endure heavy sufferings. Such is the case of the peoples of Iraq, who, by the simple fact of living in that country, are still continuing to pay a heavy price in the form of cruel privations.
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. and holds EPPC’s William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.