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Sunday, April 4, 1999 Published at 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK

World: Europe

Pope's 'corridor of hope' message

The pope has called for a humanitarian corridor for refugees

During his Easter Day message, the Pope appealed for Yugoslavia to open a "humanitarian corridor" to help Kosovo refugees.

The following is the text of his address:

"This is the day when, like the disciples, every believer is invited to proclaim the amazing newness of the Gospel. But how can this message of joy and hope be made to resound when many parts of the world are submerged in sorrow and tears?

"How can we speak of peace when people are forced to flee, when they are hunted down and their homes are burned to the ground? When their heavens are rent by the din of war, when the whistle of shells is heard around people's homes and the ravaging fire of bombs consumes towns and villages?

"Enough of this cruel shedding of human blood. When will there be an end to the diabolic spiral of revenge and senseless fratricidal conflicts?

"From the Risen Lord I invoke the precious gift of peace above all for the devastated land of Kosovo, where tears and blood continue to mingle in a tragic spectacle of hatred and violence.

"I think of those who have been killed, of those made homeless, of those who have been torn from their families, of those who are being forced to flee. Let the solidarity of everyone be mobilised so that finally brotherhood and peace may begin to speak once more.

"How can we be insensitive to the sorrowful flood of men and women from Kosovo who are knocking at our door, begging help?

"On this holy day, I feel duty bound to make a heartfelt appeal to the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to allow a humanitarian corridor to be opened in order for help to be brought to the mass of people gathered at the border in Kosovo.

"There can be no frontiers to impede the work of solidarity; corridors of hope are always an imperative.

"My thoughts go then to the regions of Africa, where the distressing fires of war are slow to disappear, to the countries of Asia where dangerous social tensions are far from abating and to the countries of Latin America, committed to advancing on their laborious and uneven path towards goals of greater justice and democracy.

"In the face of persisting evidence of war and the countless grievous defeats of life, Christ the conqueror of sin and death urges us not to surrender. Peace is possible, peace is a duty, peace is a prime responsibility of everyone.

"May the dawn of the third millennium see the coming of a new era in which respect for every man and woman and fraternal solidarity among peoples will, with God's help, overcome the culture of hatred, of violence, of death."

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