Holy See: Interreligious dialogue needed for Syrian peace

NEW YORK (AP) — The Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations says interreligious dialogue must be part of the Syrian peace process.

In a U.N. speech, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt noted that the millions of refugees displaced by the violence in Syria and other parts of the Mideast include Christians whose roots in the region go back nearly 2,000 years. The Holy See's permanent U.N. observer lamented what he called "a worrying exodus" of Christians who are being targeted "by fundamentalist and extremist forces."

Chullikatt called for interfaith dialogue to bring about reconciliation and restore Syria's historic religious pluralism.

He said Pope Francis, "as a witness to peace," intends to make his visit to the Holy Land in May a "pilgrimage of prayer."

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