After the Angelus, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has read the following statement in Italian:

In the face of the ever more dramatic news that is coming from Libya, my trepidation for the safety of the civil population grows as does my apprehension for the developments of the situation, which is now marked by the use of arms. In moments of great tension there is a greater urgency to the exigency to have recourse to every means at the disposal of diplomatic action and to support even the weakest signs of openness and desire for reconciliation among all the parties involved, in the pursuit of peaceful and lasting solutions. In this regard, as I lift up my prayer to the Lord for a return to concord in Libya and the whole region of North Africa, I make a concerned appeal to international organizations and to political and military leaders for the immediate launching of dialogue and a suspension of the use of weapons.

I finally address the authorities and citizens of the Middle East, where in recent days various episodes of violence have sprung up, asking that there too the way of dialogue and reconciliation be privileged in the pursuit of just and fraternal coexistence.