Pope hails Colombia peace accord, briefly comments on 'Brexit'

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

ARMENIA (CNS) — Commenting on the peace agreement reached in Colombia, Pope
Francis hailed the end of “more than 50 years of war and guerilla warfare
and so much bloodshed.”

Pope Francis told reporters
flying with him to Armenia June 24 that he prayed Colombia would “never
return to a state of war” again.

Although he usually does not
answer questions on his flights from Rome to other countries, Pope Francis was
asked by his spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, to comment on both the
Colombia agreement and the results of a June 23 referendum in England on
membership in the European Union.

The decision to leave the EU
“was the will expressed by the people,” the pope said.

The English decision, he said,
“requires great responsibility on the part of all of us to guarantee the
good of the people of the United Kingdom and the good and coexistence of the
whole European continent.”

After his brief response to the
questions, Pope Francis returned to his normal routine on outbound flights,
walking the length of the plane and personally greeting each of the almost 70
media representatives. He collected letters and books and signed a few

The Colombian government reached
a cease-fire agreement June 23 with the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, ending 52 years of hostilities. The
government and the Marxist guerillas have been in talks since 2012, reaching
agreement on what the parties describe as five pillars.

final pillar, the demobilization of the guerillas, was the most difficult to
settle. The other pillars cover political participation, rural development, the
illicit economy, and victims of the violence and were settled in earlier negotiations.

In the
United Kingdom, voters June 23 decided to exit the EU by 52 percent to 48
percent. The decision sent a shock wave through world financial markets and led
Prime Minister David Cameron to announce his resignation.

referendum turnout was 71.8 percent as more than 30 million people went to the
polls. It was the highest turnout in a UK-wide vote since the 1992 general

in Great Britain and Wales decided strongly to leave the EU while residents of
Northern Ireland and Scotland supported staying in the European bloc.

has two years to complete the withdrawal process under EU rules.

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