Pope calls for UN action to end 'aggression' in Iraq

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 19 2014 03:39 AM | Updated as of Aug 19 2014 11:39 AM

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE - Pope Francis called Monday for collective action through the United Nations (UN) to "stop unjust aggression" in Iraq, in an implicit criticism of US air strikes against Islamic militants there.

Asked about recent US strikes against Islamic State targets in northern Iraq, the pope said that "in the case where there is unjust aggression, it is acceptable to stop an unjust aggressor. I emphasise the word 'stop'. I am not saying 'bombard' or 'make war upon'."

"One nation cannot decide" alone how to end the aggression, the pontiff, speaking aboard the flight bringing him back from a trip to South Korea, added.

Pope Francis also said he was "available" to go to Iraq to provide support for refugees and Christian groups in Kurdistan "if necessary".

The pope said that proposals considered by the Vatican to help people threatened by jihadists in northern Iraq included the pontiff travelling to the region.

"We said, if necessary, when we return from Korea we can go there, but right now it is not the best thing to do," he told reporters.

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