Vatican Hopes for Peace Conference on Ukraine to Lay Groundwork for Talks

The head of the Italian Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, says it is now “important not to allow tensions to rise”

Cardinale Matteo Zuppi

The peace conference on Ukraine to be held in Switzerland in June will be an important “exercise” in assessing the prospects and possibilities for peace. This opinion was expressed by the head of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, the papal envoy for peace in Ukraine, in an interview with the Russian TASS news agency.

“Hopefully it will be useful in laying the groundwork for the next steps,” the cardinal said.

Speaking about the prospects for peace, the cardinal noted that at the moment it is very important not to allow tensions to rise. In this regard, Zuppi emphasized the importance of the statement on this issue by the Vatican Secretary of State (head of government), Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who warned of the danger of “uncontrolled escalation.” Zuppi also noted the “balanced position” of Italy’s defense minister, Guido Crosetto, on the use of the Western weapons against targets in the Russian Federation.

“I think Europe has a great responsibility to contribute to a negotiated solution to the conflict, and there can be no other basis for achieving a just and credible peace settlement,” Zuppi is convinced. “A united Europe that was born after World War II and is based on the rejection of war as an instrument of conflict resolution,” the cardinal continued, “must not abandon this vision. With the number of victims and suffering increasing each day, everyone must make a convincing effort to create conditions for dialogue and negotiation. Concrete steps need to be taken by everyone.”

Cardinal Zuppi concluded the talk by emphasizing that Pope Francis’s words cannot be interpreted in two ways. “The Pope’s words and his efforts have always had a clear purpose, he has never denied responsibility for the war, but he has always emphasized the courage of those who negotiate, and this should not mean capitulation, but a resolution of the conflict based on law and with the help of the entire international community,” Zuppi concluded.