“Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare”, the courage “to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity”, said the Pope to Simon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas in the Vatican

Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa O.F.M., custodian of the Holy Land, and Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, presented the details of the “Invocation for Peace” initiative scheduled to take place in the Vatican on Sunday. Pope Francis has invited the presidents of Israel and Palestine, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas, to join him in a prayer encounter.

Russia an China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have referred the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The EU has criticised the new Turkey’s legislation approved by the parliament that tightens the controls over the use of the Internet. The new bill would allow the authorities to block web sites without court order if their content is considered offensive or insulting. The Internet providers would be forced to give users data to the authorities, again without court order, and without notifying the users affected.

More than 30 UN member states have been invited to participate in the international conference of peace on Syria Preparations for the long-sought international conference on Syria, but Iran, the main Syrian ally, is not among them yet

In his first Christmas Message Urbi et Orbi from the Vatican Pope Francis made an appeal for peace, calling believers and non believers to be united in this purpose. “All united, either by prayer or by desire. But all of us, for peace,” he said.

Jordan was elected to serve on the UN Security Council for two-years beginning on 1 January 2014 and fill the seat that Saudi Arabia won and rejected earlier in November.