Pope Francis on Friday called for international cooperation to ensure all people get access to vaccines and treatment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a traditional Christmas speech he delivered at the Apostolic Palace due to COVID-19 measures, the pope prayed, "May the Son of God renew in political and government leaders a spirit of international cooperation, starting with health care, so that all will be ensured access to vaccines and treatment."
"At this moment in history, marked by the ecological crisis and grave economic and social imbalances, only worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, it is all the more important for us to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters," he said.
Stressing that children pay a high price for war, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, he said Christmas is a favorable time to ease tensions throughout the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean.
He also prayed for healing of the wounds of the Syrian people, "who for a decade have been devastated by war and its consequences, now aggravated by the pandemic."
"May he bring comfort to the Iraqi people and to all those involved in the work of reconciliation, and particularly to the Yazidis, sorely tried by these last years of war," he said.
He prayed that peace may come to Libya and that Israelis and Palestinians regain mutual trust and seek a just and lasting peace through dialogue.
He also encouraged the people of Lebanon not to lose hope amid the difficulties they currently face.
The pope also urged the international community and the countries involved to continue the cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as in the eastern regions of Ukraine.
He also prayed for the people of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, who are suffering amid humanitarian crises, and he called for an end to the violence in Ethiopia.
Speaking on natural disasters in Southeast Asia, especially in the Philippines and Vietnam, the pope also said, "As I think of Asia, I cannot forget the Rohingya people," praying that they would have hope amid their sufferings.