|The Pontifical Academy of Sciences|
With the upcoming “Geneva II” talks, the “resumption of the U.N. peace process, this time with the U.S. and Russia on the same side to prevent violence, might succeed in keeping al-Qaida at bay—a shared interest—and finding a pragmatic long-term solution for Syria’s complex internal divisions.”
Meanwhile, a two-person delegation representing the Syrian government delivered a letter for Pope Francis from Assad. The letter was delivered Dec. 28 when the Syrians met at the Vatican with Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican foreign minister, and gave a ‘message’ to the Pope.
The January talks in Geneva are a follow-up to a meeting in June 2012 when international parties proposed a peace plan calling for a transitional government body in an effort to end a civil war that began in March 2011.
Catholic News Service reports that the conflict between Assad’s government and rebel forces has killed more than 100,000 people, driven 2 million refugees out of Syria and displaced more than 4 million inside the country.