Addis Ababa (Agenzia Fides) - A sign of solidarity is an opportunity to seek the best possible ways to restore peace in the Country. This is how Fr. Anthony Makunde, Secretary General of the Association of Bishops' Conferences of East Africa (AMECEA), defined the three-day visit of an AMECEA delegation to the Ethiopian Bishops' Conference (CBCE). The focus of the meeting was the ongoing conflict in the Tigray region. "It was an opportunity to share the best way to collaborate and involve AMECEA members in the process of restoring peace", said Fr. Makunde, who emphasized that "the Church has always preached the gospel of peace and that war has never been a solution to problems". In this context, Fr. Makunde called on people to continue praying for peace and to participate in efforts to increase humanitarian aid for internally displaced persons and people in refugee camps. According to Fr. Paul Mung'athia Igweta, AMECEA Coordinator for the Department for the Promotion of Integral Human Development (PIHD), who was part of the delegation, "support and physical presence in Ethiopia are the key to showing solidarity with the Ethiopian population". Fr. Igweta stressed that the situation in the Horn of Africa requires dialogue and understanding on the part of the parties concerned. "The conflict cannot be resolved through a military solution, but through dialogue", he said, recalling the efforts already made for peace-building by the Catholic Church together with other members of the Interreligious Conference of Ethiopia (IRCE), including Muslims, Orthodox and Seventh Day Adventists (SDA).
A report from the Ethiopian Bishops' Conference, which was published following the AMECEA's visit to Cardinal Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa and Chairman, also emphasized the role of the Catholic Church in the peace and reconciliation process: "the Ethiopian Bishops' Conference has issued a series of declarations to promote dialogue, peace and reconciliation, inviting all the faithful and people of good will to be instruments of peace. The Church has played a significant role in mobilizing humanitarian aid and in collaboration with its partners".
In the recent audience on September 8, Pope Francis recalled the tragedy of Ethiopia in this way: "The New Year will be celebrated on September 11 in Ethiopia. I extend to the Ethiopian people my most cordial and heartfelt greetings, particularly to those who are suffering due to the ongoing conflict and the serious humanitarian situation it has caused. May this be a moment of fraternity and solidarity so that the common desire for peace can be heard". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 13/9/2021)