World Bulletin/News Desk
Pope Francis said on Monday the international community would be justified in stopping militants in Iraq, but that it should not be up to a single nation to decide how to intervene in the conflict.
The leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics made his comments in an hour-long conversation with reporters aboard a plane returning from a trip to South Korea that ranged from international diplomacy to his health and future travel plans.
During the encounter that has become a tradition at the end of his foreign journeys, Francis, 77, also said he planned to visit the United States next year and that he was ready to go to China "tomorrow" if the communist government allowed him.
Francis was asked if he approved of U.S. strikes against ISIL insurgents who have recently forced Christians and other minorities to flee their homes in Iraq.
"In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression I can only say that it is legitimate to stop the unjust aggressor," he said.
The pope was careful not to give the impression that he was giving an automatic green light for military strikes, but he did not rule them out. He said the situation was grave and the international community had to respond together.
"I underscore the verb 'to stop'. I am not saying 'bomb' or 'make war', but stop him (the aggressor). The means by which he can be stopped must be evaluated. Stopping the unjust aggressor is legitimate," he said.
"One single nation cannot judge how he is to be stopped, how an unjust aggressor is to be stopped," he said. He said the United Nations was the proper forum to consider whether there was unjust aggression and how to stop it.
WILLING TO GO TO IRAQ
The pope disclosed that he had considered going to Iraq after his return from Korea, but decided against a visit for the time being. "At this moment, it would not be the best thing to do, but I am willing to do it," he said.
He has sent a senior cardinal to Iraq to visit refugees and distribute Vatican charity funds and sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about the need to stop the bloodshed.
Francis said he wanted to go Philadelphia in September, 2015 for a meeting of Catholic families and hinted that the trip might well include a visit to the White House and Congress in Washington D.C. and the United Nations in New York.
That trip, which would be his first to the United States, could also be expanded to include Mexico, he said, but no decision had been taken.
He said the Vatican was always open to dialogue with Beijing, calling the country "noble and wise", but said that the Church needed to carry out its mission in freedom.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Ağustos 2014, 23:28