- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pope Francis said in a letter sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that the Group of 20 should set aside talks of entering Syria with military force.

In the letter, he said that type of solution is a “futile pursuit” which won’t do anything to end the conflict, the Associated Press reported.

Instead, the pontiff advised, G-20 participants ought to instead try to negotiate a peaceful end to the violence between President Bashar Assad’s regime and rebel Islamic forces.

The pope sent the letter to Mr. Putin because he’s the host of the summit, AP reported.

Pope Francis is taking additional steps to push peace as a solution to the Syria situation, including hosting a vigil in St. Peter’s Square this weekend. The Vatican also called in all ambassadors on Thursday and reminded them that they are voices of the pope and, as such, needed to remain distant from extremists in the conflict.

The pope’s peace talk comes as the White House and Congress appear headed toward a show of military force in Syria. The administration said such force is necessary after determining Mr. Assad launched a chemical attack against rebel fighters outside Damascus that killed more than 1,400 people, including civilians.

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