In his first speech in Kazakhstan, the pope made clear yesterday the reasons that have led him to visit this vast country in the midst of the war in Ukraine after the Russian invasion: “I come to amplify the cry of so many who implore peace.”
Francis arrived in Nur-Sultan today after a six and a half hour flight for a three-day visit and to participate in the Meeting of the leaders of the world and traditional regions that is held every three years in the country, from where together with the other religious representatives will raise a petition for peace. At first, the presence of the Russian Orthodox Patriarch, Cirilo, was planned, which would have led to a second meeting between the two -after the historic meeting in Cuba in 2016-, but this time of greater importance to try to seek dialogue or mediation to get peace.
However, Cyril, who has justified the Russian invasion of Ukraine, decided not to participate without explanation.
In his first public act after the meeting with President Kasim-Yomart Tokáyev, in the speech before the authorities and the diplomatic corps in the spectacular Qazaq Concert Hall, Francisco presented himself “as a pilgrim of peace, in search of dialogue and unity”. “Our world urgently needs it, it needs to find harmony again,” he stressed. The pope recalled that Kazakhstan, which shares borders with China and Russia, among other countries, “is configured as a crossroads of important geopolitical intersections; which gives it, therefore, a fundamental role in mitigating conflicts”. Kazakhstan has a neutral position in the war and offered to mediate at the beginning of the conflict.
In this regard, he explained that “John Paul II came here to sow hope, immediately after the tragic attacks of 2001”, on September 11, in the United States, and that now he arrives in this country “while the senseless and tragic war originated by the invasion of the Ukraine”…
The pope also wanted to remember “the prison camps and mass deportations that have seen so many oppressed populations in the cities and in the vast steppes of these regions” during the Soviet Union and assured that “the Kazakhs were not captivated by those outrages; and from the memory of seclusion flourished attention for inclusion”.