Pope Francis encourages work for cease-fire in Syria

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis is praising a diplomacy-backed plan for a cease-fire in Syria's war as well as a recent breakthrough in efforts toward creating a national unity government in Libya.

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In comments to the faithful Sunday, Francis expressed "strong appreciation" for the plan calling for talks between the Syrian government and the opposition to begin next month. The UN Security Council has given the peace plan unanimous support.

Francis says he encourages all to continue with "generous impetus on the path toward the end of violence and a negotiated solution that brings peace" to Syria.

He expressed similar sentiments about Libya. The violence-wracked country's rival factions signed a U.N.-brokered deal last week to form a unity government. Francis called that commitment an "invitation to hope for the future."



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