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Pope calls for UN rather than US action in Iraq and says he's 'ready' to visit

Published on Aug 19, 2014 5:45 AM

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AFP) - Pope Francis called Monday for collective action through the United Nations to "stop unjust aggression" in Iraq, in an implicit criticism of unilateral US air strikes there.

The Pope, speaking to reporters aboard his flight back from a trip to South Korea, said he was ready to visit Iraq "if necessary", providing it would help people under threat there.

Asked about the recent US strikes against Islamic State (IS) targets in the north of the country, Francis said that "in the case where there is unjust aggression, it is acceptable to stop an unjust aggressor. I emphasise the word 'stop'. I am not saying 'bombard' or 'make war upon'."

"One nation cannot decide" alone how to end the aggression, he said.

Pope Francis (centre) and Father Federico Lombardi (right) give a press conference aboard the plane carrying the pontiff back to Rome at the end of a five-day trip to South-Korea, on August 18, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
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