Maputo — Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, on Thursday called on all forces in Mozambican society to show determination and courage in the ceaseless search for peace, as a fundamental factor for development.
Speaking at a courtesy meeting with President Filipe Nyusi at the Ponta Vermelha presidential palace in Maputo, the Pope said "It is necessary to have the courage of peace. A courage of high quality and not that of brute force and violence. A courage which is expressed in the ceaseless search for the common good that is peace".
Francis also called for the reconciliation of the Mozambican family, reiterating that the search for peace is hard work that requires determination, tenacity and intelligence, but without any fanaticism.
He mentioned the recent agreement on a definitive cessation of hostilities between the Mozambican government and the former rebel movement Renamo. "History should not be written by fratricidal struggle, but by the capacity to recognise each other as brothers", he said.
The Pontiff also had words of kindness and hope for the victims of cyclones Idai and Kenneth which struck Mozambique in March and April, leaving a trail of death and destruction.
"Unfortunately I cannot go and meet you in person", he said, "but I want you to know that I share your anguish and suffering and also the commitment of the Catholic community to confront such a tough situation".
Francis encouraged the Mozambican authorities to advance on inclusive development in the areas of education and health, so that nobody feels abandoned, particularly young Mozambicans.
"Do not cease your efforts as long as there are children and adolescents without education, families without a roof over their heads, peasants without land. These are the foundations of a future of hope and a future of dignity. These are the weapons of peace", he said.
While in Ponta Vermelha, Pope Francis also held a private meeting with Nyusi's family.