Pope Francis calls for peace in Ukraine, Gaza: ‘A negotiated peace is better than a war without end’

In his first in-depth interview with a U.S. network, Pope Francis called for peace in the wars in Ukraine and Gaza and said a “negotiated peace” is better than an ongoing conflict.

“Please. Countries at war, all of them, stop the war. Look to negotiate. Look for peace,” the Pope said Wednesday in an interview with CBS News.

The Pope has been outspoken about stopping the Israel-Hamas war and saving the civilians in Gaza, mentioning it in his addresses since the conflict broke out last year.

He said that every day around 7 p.m., he calls Gaza to the parish. There are about 600 people who provide updates about the situation in Gaza.

“It’s very hard, very, very hard. Food goes in, but they have to fight for it,” he said. “It’s very hard.”

When asked if he could help negotiate peace between Hamas and Israel, he said he can and has prayed “a lot” about it.

Since Hamas invaded Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel launched its counteroffensive, more than 34,000 Palestinians have died.

According to the United Nations, more than 1 million people will be facing famine in Gaza, many of them children. President Biden announced last month that the U.S. would build a temporary port along the coast of Gaza, but agencies say it will be nowhere near enough.

Pope Francis said the world needs to not only think about the children in Gaza, but the children in Ukraine, who have lived in war-torn cities for more than two years.

“Those kids don’t know how to smile. I tell them something and they forgot how to smile,” he said. “And this is very hard when a child forgets to smile.”

“That’s really very serious, very serious,” the Pope said.

He said his message for Russian President Vladimir Putin is to end the war and look for ways to negotiate peace.

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