International church bodies welcome Ukraine peace moves

By staff writers
February 14, 2015

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) have welcomed the ceasefire agreement for eastern Ukraine negotiated in Minsk and announced on 12 February 2015.

The agreement following discussions between Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany aims to bring an end to the violence in Ukraine, which has cost the lives of thousands, according to UN reports.

“We express our sincere appreciation to all parties to these negotiations for this first step together towards peace, and to the leaders of Germany and France for their facilitation of the negotiations,” said Georges Lemopoulos, WCC acting general secretary.

He stressed that the deaths and damage - and the confrontation and distrust within the international community - resulting from the conflict in Ukraine must be brought to an end.

The “WCC urges all parties to the conflict to continue their steps towards peace, to maintain a commitment to dialogue and diplomacy, and to refrain from further violence that only can cause greater human suffering in Ukraine and deepen the rift in the social and political fabric of the region and in the wider international community,” concluded Lemopoulos.

The Conference of European Churches has monitored the situation in Ukraine from the first signs of unrest.

Throughout the conflict CEC has expressed solidarity with Ukrainian people and called for an end to polarising interference in Ukrainian society.

It is the hope of the ecumenical council "that this ceasefire represents a respite from bloodshed and a pathway toward lasting peace."

“In these first hours and days of a ceasefire, we pray for the roots of a lasting peace to take hold in Ukraine,” remarked CEC General Secretary Guy Liagre.

“It is our deepest hope that wisdom and diplomacy reign in months ahead, and that the people of Ukraine come to enjoy stability and security in their land.”

* Full text of the statement on Ukraine ceasefire agreement: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/statem...

* Statement on Ukraine by the Conference of European Churches: http://www.ceceurope.org/index.php?id=1788

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