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Pope Calls For Peace In Annual Easter Message

Pope Benedict XVI delivers his Easter message and blessing to Catholics from St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.
Pope Benedict XVI has delivered his traditional Easter message of peace in front of tens of thousands of pilgrims in St Peter's Square in Rome.

He urged the Syrian government to end the bloody yearlong conflict, and spoke of the deteriorating situation in Nigeria and Mali.

He urged the Middle East and "all the ethnic, cultural and religious groups in that region to work together to advance the common good and respect for human rights."

During a mass on April 7, Pope Benedict baptized eight new converts from Albania, Turkmenistan, Italy, Slovakia, Germany, Cameroon, and the United States.

Easter, celebrated by over one billion Catholics, is one of the most important celebrations in the Christian calendar, marking the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

With reporting by AP