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Pope Calls For End of Violence in Libya, Syria

Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges the crowd during a prayer from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pope Benedict is denouncing violence in Libya and Syria and calling for peaceful resolutions to both countries' conflicts.

Following weekly prayers at the Vatican Sunday, the pope said he is following the conflict in Libya with grave concern. He said the violence there has caused a large number of victims, especially in the civilian population.

The pope appealed for negotiations to end the fighting.

Pope Benedict also said his thoughts are with Syria, where he said it is urgent to restore harmony. He called on Syrian authorities to respect what he called people's legitimate aspirations for peace and stability.

Hundreds of people have been killed in both Libya and Syria as authorities in those countries have used troops to crack down on anti-government protests.

Libya is effectively in a state of civil war between the government of Moammar Gadhafi and eastern-based rebels.

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