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Retrieved from AGI online on July 21, 2006

Vatican City, 20 Jul - In churches across the world, next Sunday 23 July is to be a "special day of prayer and penance" that there be peace in the Middle East, an immediate cease fire, and that the rights of the people involved - Israelis Palestinians and Lebanese - are respected: this is the decision taken by Benedict XVI who has invited "clergy and congregations in all churches, as well as the faithful all over the world, to ask God for the precious gift of peace".(AGI) .

Pope urges Middle East ceasefire

Retrieved from Ireland online web site on July 21, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI today called for an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East and the opening of humanitarian corridors so relief can reach the civilian population.

The latest Vatican appeal repeated the position that Lebanon’s integrity and sovereignty must be respected, that Israelis have the right to live in peace in their country and that the Palestinians have a right to their own state.

It said Benedict had set aside Sunday as a worldwide day of prayers for peace, hoping the prayers will bring a halt to the fighting, the immediate opening of corridors for relief supplies and the start of serious negotiations.

The Pope also appealed to relief organizations to provide assistance to those affected “by this ruthless conflict”.