He Pope Francisco entrusted to the Italian cardinal Matteo Zuppi that heads a peace mission in the framework of the war in Ukraine. This was confirmed by the Vatican press office after several days of rumors.
The religious, archbishop of the northern region of Bologna and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, has been entrusted “with the task of directing a mission, in agreement with the Secretary of State, to to help alleviate the tensions in the conflict in Ukraine, with the hope never given up by the Holy Father, that this can set many paths of peace in motion”, spokesman Matteo Bruni told reporters.
The details and details are yet to be known since “the terms of this mission and its modality are currently under study,” he added.
The confirmation from the Holy See comes after days ago, upon his return from Hungary, the Pope advanced the idea of a secret mission but of which absolutely nothing was known.
Such was the secrecy that the media began to speculate that Francis could decide to send emissaries both to kyiv like Moscow in an attempt to mediate on site and try to stop the attacks.
According to these hypotheses, Zuppi would be in charge of visiting Ukraine while the archbishop Claudio Gugerotti He would act as interlocutor with Russian President Vladimir Putin, given his extensive knowledge of both nations and his position as prefect of the Department for Oriental Churches.
However, this “double” strategy has not been confirmed.
Zuppi had already mediated in other conflicts on behalf of the Church. In 1990 he was in charge of the peace mission with the Community of Sant’Egidio in the context of the civil war in Mozambique and more recently, in 2017, he was present at the act of handing over the arms of the Basque terrorist group ETA in the town Bayonne French.
The appointment of the religious adds to the many past statements by Francis in which he asked for a space for dialogue between Russians and Ukrainians, although always from a openly recognized stance of neutrality. According to him, this allows the Holy See “better contribute to conflict resolution” although, also, it has cost criticism from sectors that consider that it should be more blunt and condemn the attacks.
The Pope has not traveled to kyiv but a week ago, on May 13, he received the president Volodimir Zelensky in the Vatican as part of his brief stay in the country.
In the meeting, which lasted 40 minutes, both agreed on “the need to continue humanitarian efforts in support of the population”, while the Supreme Pontiff highlighted the “urgent need for gestures of humanity towards the most fragile people, innocent victims of the conflict”.
For his part, the Ukrainian leader limited himself to thanking the priest for his attention to “the tragedy of millions” of innocents but insisted that he “condemn Russian crimes” in the country.
“There can be no equality between the victim and the aggressor”, he added and concluded by rejecting the possibility of any peace plan other than the one proposed by his cabinet: “I have also spoken about our Peace Formula as the only effective algorithm to achieve just peace. I have proposed joining your implementation.”
(With information from EFE)
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