2011-04-09 13:15:28

Cardinal Turkson on Ivory Coast

Cardinal Peter Turkson is back in Rome after failing to make his way to Ivory Coast. The President of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace was sent by Pope Benedict at the end of March as his personal representative, but intense fighting closed the airport in Abidjan.

“When we got [to West Africa], the situation had so deteriorated…so I waited to see if the situation would change. It didn’t. I tried also to seek the help of the United Nation…the UN was not ready to take this risk of taking non-UN staff into a dangerous situation where there is conflict and snipers shooting all over,” he explained.

While seeking entry to the Ivory Coast in his native Ghana, Cardinal Turkson spoke over the phone with the Apostolic Nuncio and bishops in the country.

Although embattled president Laurent Gbagbo was raised Catholic and his opponent President-elect Alassane Ouattara was raised Muslim, Cardinal Turkson says religion is not playing a large role in the conflict.

“To say it is a conflict between Christians and Muslims would not be exact…I know strong Catholics on the Ouattara side…religion plays a very little role in this,” he said.

Listen to full interview by Charles Collins with Cardinal Peter Turkson: RealAudioMP3

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