Cristina Cabrejas |
Vatican City, (EFE) Burundi or Guatemala with the Community of San Egidio, only through dialogue will the conflict end.
Zuppi, archbishop of Bologna (north) and president of the Italian bishops, is known for being “a street priest” devoted to the poorest and migrants, despite having been named cardinal.
These characteristics, but above all his mediation work in the peace agreements in Mozambique in 1992, in Guatemala in the mid-1990s and for his collaboration with Nelson Mandela for the ceasefire in Burundi in 2003, have led the pontiff to entrust him with the most delicate mission of the entire pontificate.
“You have to keep all channels open, to stop the massacre, there is no other way,” he explained to Corriere della Sera before learning that the Pope would choose him in his delicate and almost impossible mission of peace, especially when it seems that Neither Ukraine nor Russia intend to talk.
A life dedicated to the church
Born in Rome on October 11, 1955, Zuppi was ordained a priest for the diocese of Palestrina on May 9, 1981 and from 2000 to 2012 he was the general ecclesiastical assistant of the Community of the lay faithful of Sant’Egidio after meeting its founder, Andrea Riccardi.
In 2012 he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Rome by Benedict XVI, while Francis named him archbishop of Bologna in 2015 and, four years later, cardinal.
In the Community of Sant’Egidio, where he began as a priest, known as the Trastevere UN, the Roman neighborhood where they have their headquarters, there is absolute silence because it will surely be them, with a long history in mediation work, who will help Zuppi in his mission.
Intense humanitarian task of the community of Sant’Egidio in Ukraine
The Community of Sant’Egidio itself is involved in an intense humanitarian task in Ukraine, with more than a thousand tons of aid, four distribution centers and a dense network of relationships also with the Moscow Patriarchate.
The moment is delicate, the EI Italy Episcopal Conference has written that “the cardinal will not issue statements until he considers it appropriate, in agreement with the Pope and the Holy See”, while the times and modalities of the mission are being studied.
He could meet with Zelensky
Although everything seems to indicate that the idea is for Zuppi to meet with the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenski, but above all with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, with whom not even the pope has been able to speak, to deliver a message to them.
A mediation in line with that of 2003, when Pope Karol Wojtyla sent two cardinals to Baghdad and Washington in a vain attempt to stop the second Gulf War.
Peace agreement in Guatemala
Zuppi knows that negotiations are long and patience is needed, as in Guatemala, where the peace agreement was reached in 1996 under the protection of the UN, but the role of the community of Sant’Egidio was decisive, as the archbishop himself later indicated.
“The talks had lasted for several years but trust, understanding had not been established between one party and the other. This was possible precisely because of these secret meetings that the Community organized without replacing the exercise of the United Nations. We opted to do this and then continue to accompany the process that the UN was presiding over at the time and that led to the signing of the peace agreement in Guatemala”, he explained then.
IRA disarmament witness
Zuppi also participated together with the Irish Methodist Harold Good, who witnessed the disarmament of the IRA, in the act that was held at the Bayonne City Hall on April 8, 2017 where the documents with the locations of the ETA arms depots were delivered. to the members of the International Verification Commission (CIV).
Attempt to mediate between ETA and the Government
The Archbishop of Bologna had tried to mediate between ETA and the Government with Sant’Egidio, which however failed because the terrorist group never trusted them.
Zuppi’s presence “was intended to be that of a moral witness, known for having participated in various processes of international reconciliation, and is connected to the peace work of the Community of Sant’Egidio, which contributed to overcoming this painful page of history Spanish”, explained the Catholic movement before the discontent of a part of the Basque Church.
Negotiations in Mozambique
In 1990, Riccardi, the founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio, and Zuppi played the role of mediators in the negotiations between the Mozambican government, then controlled by the Socialists of the Liberation Front, and the National Resistance party, which had been at odds since 1975 in a bloody civil war.
The mediation led on October 4, 1992, the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi and after twenty-seven months of negotiations, to the signing of the peace agreements in Rome that put an end to the hostilities