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Pope Francis urges 'concord' in Venezuela crisis

Pope Francis was heading to Colombia to plead for lasting peace in that country as it moves towards the end of a half-century war.

Published: 07th September 2017 11:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th September 2017 11:04 AM   |  A+A-

Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he arrives to the Nunciature in Bogota, Colombia. | AP

By AFP

PAPAL: Pope Francis on Wednesday urged Venezuela to unite in "concord" to end its deadly political crisis, as he headed on his fifth papal visit to his native Latin America region.

The Argentine pontiff was heading to Colombia to plead for lasting peace in that country as it moves towards the end of a half-century war.

But his first statements on the trip concerned Venezuela, where a political and economic crisis has caused food shortages, deadly unrest and calls for President Nicolas Maduro to quit.

As his plane entered Venezuelan airspace, the Argentine pontiff issued a telegram -- a traditional gesture he makes for every country he flies over on his apostolic trips.

He sent "cordial greetings" to Maduro and the Venezuelan people, "praying that all in the nation may promote paths of solidarity, justice and concord."

The Vatican has tried to mediate in the Venezuelan crisis -- just as Francis has supported recent steps towards peace in neighboring Colombia.

Earlier on the flight, Francis told journalists the trip was "a bit special" because it aims to help Colombia "move forward on the road to peace."



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