2014-01-21 15:50:00

Patriarch Kirill calls on Geneva II participants to stop war in Syria, release hostages

Moscow, January 21, Interfax Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said he is hoping the Geneva II conference will put an end to the war in Syria.

"The world is now hoping you will take drastic action to ensure a peaceful settlement of the bloody conflict in Syria. Your responsibility for this is hard to overestimate. The scales of the tragedy that has taken place in Syria for three years are huge," the patriarch said in his address to the participants in the international conference Geneva II, which will be held in Montreux, Switzerland, on January 22.

Patriarch Kirill called on all people of good will to stop the escalation of violence in Syria, "stop the intervention by terrorists and extremist groups, external financial and weapons support, and let the people of Syria decide what path they want to take."

The patriarch reiterated that everything possible needs to be done "for immediate and unconditional halt of the military action and the beginning of dialogue in Syria" and to ensure the safety and religious freedom of Christians and all other residents of the country, the communication service of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations reported on Tuesday.

"The priority step aimed at reaching peace and stability should be the release of hostages and the prevention of the desecration of holy places and monuments of culture and history," the address says.