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Pope Francis: Ukraine must be ‘far-sighted’ to achieve peace

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 25/11/2022 James Kilner
Pope Francis - VATICAN MEDIA/via REUTERS © VATICAN MEDIA/via REUTERS Pope Francis - VATICAN MEDIA/via REUTERS

The Pope has said Ukraine must be “far-sighted” for peace to be achieved, suggesting that Kyiv will have to make concessions to end the war with Russia.

The Pope earlier this month called for a ceasefire and asked God to “hurry up” to end the war. In an open letter released on Friday, he praised Ukraine’s resilience but said that their leaders should be preparing for peace.

“On them lies the duty to govern the country in tragic times and to make far-sighted decisions for peace and to develop the economy during the destruction of so much vital infrastructure,” he wrote.

Volodymyr Zelensky has said that he will not negotiate with the Kremlin until it has withdrawn from all areas of Ukraine occupied since 2014.

It came as it emerged that Russian and Ukrainian negotiators met for secret talks in the UAE last week to discuss deals that could move long prospects for broader peace negotiations.

Prisoner swaps and reopening ammonia pipeline

The talks in Abu Dhabi focused on prisoner swaps and reopening an ammonia pipeline but came amid a push by the White House for Ukraine to join peace talks.

The Reuters news agency said only the UAE had mediated the talks on Nov 17.

“They discussed allowing Russia to resume ammonia exports in exchange for a prisoner swap that would release a large number of Ukrainian and Russian prisoners,” Reuters reported by quoting unnamed sources.

Kyiv and Moscow have not commented on the report, although on Wednesday Vladimir Putin, said that Russian officials hoped to unblock an ammonia pipeline running between the Russian city of Togliatti and Odesa.

Ammonia is a key ingredient in fertiliser which Russia is a key global producer of.

The UN has also said that the world needs a boost in fertiliser quantities.

The Middle East has become an important intermediary in the war.

In September, Saudi Arabia helped to negotiate the largest prisoner swap since the invasion which included Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner who had been sentenced to death in the rebel Donetsk region after being captured fighting alongside the Ukrainian army in Mariupol.  

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