By Vatican News staff writer
Pope Francis on Sunday turned his thoughts to the continuing hostilities taking place in Libya and prayed for fruitful peace negotiations taking place at an international level.
He turned his thoughts to a group of Italian and Tunisian fishermen who were seized on 1 September by Libyan patrol boats, accused of fishing in territorial waters, and still detained in Benghazi.
Speaking after the recitation of the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said “I pray for the various talks taking place at the international level, that they may be relevant for the future of Libya.”
“The time has come to stop all forms of hostility and encourage dialogue that will lead to peace and stability in the country,” he said.
Mentioning the plight of the fishermen and his closeness also to their families, he asked those present in the square to pray together for the fishermen and for Libya, in silence.
“I would like to address a word of encouragement and support to the fishermen stopped more than a month ago in Libya and their families,” the Pope said and he invoked Our Lady Star of the Sea to keep the hope alive that they will soon be able to embrace their loved ones.
What’s happening in Libya
Egypt has recently taken the lead in trying to find a solution to the presence of armed militias in Libya and resolve the conflict.
At the end of September, the Egyptian city of Hurghada hosted military talks between representatives of the eastern Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), to discuss ways to unify the military institutions and deal with militias.
Russia, Italy and other countries in the North African region are also pushing for international cooperation to find a peaceful solution to what has become a ferocious civil war between factions loyal to the UN-backed government in the West and Khalifa Haftar’s rival government in the East.