Pope calls for an end to wars, urges respect for civilians

Pope Francis leads Angelus prayer at the Vatican
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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Sunday urged respect for civilians in conflict areas and said people were tired of wars, which he called a "disaster for the peoples and a defeat for humanity".

After his weekly Angelus prayer in St. Peter's square, the pope said humanitarian aid must be allowed to flow in Myanmar and said the population must be respected also in the Middle East, hit by the war between Israel and Hamas. He also mentioned the suffering of people in Ukraine.

The Myanmar military, which overthrew an elected government in 2021, has been battling an alliance of ethnic minority armies fighting to end its control of their regions since late October.

Francis also said he learned "with relief" that a group of people including six nuns, had been freed in Haiti after nearly a week in captivity. Last week, he had called for their release.

(Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Frances Kerry)