Pope Francis prays for peaceful end to Nicaragua crisis

Pope Francis says he is praying for the success of talks underway in Nicaragua aimed at solving a yearlong political crisis in the country.

Francis addressed the crisis in Nicaragua after leading a prayer Sunday to a crowd at St. Peter's Square.

Francis, who is from Argentina, described the talks between President Daniel Ortega's administration and opposition delegations as "important."

He said: "I accompany the initiative with prayer and encourage the parties to find a peaceful solution for the good of all as soon as possible."

The crisis was triggered last April when cuts to social security benefits led to protests that evolved into calls for Ortega's resignation. Security forces responded with violent repression. Human rights groups say at least 325 people died.

The unrest also devastated the economy.