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Vatican to host Syria peace conference in January

Tony Blair, Mohamed ElBaradei among participants

31 December, 19:43
Vatican to host Syria peace conference in January (ANSA) - Vatican City, December 31 - The Pontifical Academy of Sciences has invited leaders from the worlds of politics, diplomacy, culture and the economy to an international meeting on January 13 to come up with an accord "for a ceasefire to make humanitarian aid possible" in Syria. Participants in the meeting, which is to be held at the Villa Pia in Vatican City five days before the Geneva II international peace conference on Syria, will analyze the dramatic situation in the war-torn country, where the conflict that has been ongoing for over two years has caused tens of thousands of deaths. Participants in a workshop titled "Syria: Can We Remain Indifferent?" will include former UK prime minister Tony Blair, Egyptian scholar and former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general Mohamed ElBaradei, former Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, US economist Jeffrey Sachs, Russian diplomat Pyotr Stegny, Lebanese diplomat Joseph Maila, and French economist Thierry de Montbrial. The keynote speaker will be Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue. The meeting will also take on the issue of Syrian Christians, organizers said.