“Vatican Radio” interviews Mgr. Tomasi the Holy See’s representative to the UN in Geneva
vatican insider staff
“Violent conflicts and arms go hand in hand,” says Mgr. Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s representative to the UN in Geneva. The day after the Pope’s condemnation of illicit arms trafficking as a contributing factor to the Syrian crisis, Mgr. Tomasi said it was “a perfect time for the Holy Father to draw the world’s attention to illegal arms trafficking.”
The Apostolic Nuncio criticised the international Community of “excessive military spending”. In 2012 for example, “military expenses amounted to 1,750 billion dollars; 8% of this figure is spent on the Middle East,” says Mgr. Tomasi, adding: “this really is adding fuel to the fire.”
According to the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN in Geneva, some “fan the flames” of crises in order to go on selling arms. “As the Pope said, commercial interests play an important role in the arms market,” Tomasi reveals.
It is not just the prospect of profit that is fuelling the sale of arms on the black market. There are also economic interests behind it. The interests of States which produce and sell arms, such as the United States, Russia, the UK, France, Germany, Israel, China and others. In these States, the arms production industry is a core part of the economy.”
“There is a real link between the industrial and military systems and the political importance of this link outweighs the interests of the common good of a country, particularly in developed countries.” “Experience tells us that in parts of the world where democracy has not asserted itself strongly enough, the accumulation of arms – bought through legal and illegal means – helps keep small elites in power and they certainly have no regard for the common good of their people.”
While the “international community continues to speak about peace,” “international efforts should be focused on” building peace; instead, what we see is a development in arms production, which bolsters certain sectors of the economy,” the Vatican diplomat laments.
Caritas Italy shared Mgr. Tomasi’s condemnation of “the tight links between financial markets, economic interests, war and poverty.”
“The Syrian conflict has gone on for over two and a half years: we must move away from our conception of emergency and media focus – which is constantly changing – and pay constant and continued attention to the excessive number of more or less latent conflicts that exist across the planet, bringing death and suffering to millions of people. We need to reflect on a personal and community level on the causes of these conflicts,” Caritas Italy said in its statement.
In light of the situation in Syria and the Middle East, Caritas Italy called on Caritas associations on a diocese level to kick start a new season of educational initiatives and proposals to awaken people’s sense of responsibility and find new ways to educate people about peace and non-violence.