Pope appeals for end to conflict

ASSISI - Pope Benedict yesterday made one of his strongest peace appeals, calling for an end to all wars and saying the people of the Middle East have had enough of "the horrors of combat, terrorism and blind violence".

The pope made his appeal at the birthplace of Francis of Assisi, the saint who is a symbol of peace and also the Catholic Church's patron of animals and the environment.

"I consider it my duty to launch from here a pressing and heartfelt appeal for a stop to all armed conflicts that bloody the earth.

"May weapons be silenced and may hate give way to love everywhere. May offence give way to forgiveness, and discord to unity," he said.

Speaking to thousands of people, he said he heard the cry of those suffering because of war. - Reuters