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Pope Writes to Australian PM Ahead of G20 Summit: “Lives Are at Stake”

© Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk / g20.org

Vatican Radio - published on 11/11/14

Pontiff highlights malnutrition, unemployment, exclusion, and attacks on the environment.

Pope Francis has written to the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbot, ahead of the Group of 20 summit that opens this weekend in Brisbane. In the letter, he asks the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies “not to forget that many lives are at stake behind these political and technical discussions.”

"It would indeed be regrettable if such discussions were to remain purely on the level of declarations of principle,” the Pope wrote, identifying key areas such as  malnutrition, unemployment (especially among the young), an increase in exclusion, and attacks on the environment.

Speaking of responses to current military crises, Pope Francis said “the whole world” is waiting for a coordinated agreement through the UN for a “definitive halt to the unjust aggression directed at different religious and ethnic groups, including minorities, in the Middle East.”

“It has become more and more evident that the solution to this grave problem cannot be a purely military one, but must also focus on those who in one way or another encourage terrorist groups through political support, the illegal oil trade or the provision of arms and technology," he wrote. "There is also a need for education and a heightened awareness that religion may not be exploited as a means of justifying violence.”

He also appealed for support for victims of the crises, especially refugees.

“The situation in the Middle East has revived debate about the responsibility of the international community to protect individuals and peoples from extreme attacks on human rights and a total disregard for humanitarian law.  The international community, and in particular the G20 Member States, should also give thought to the need to protect citizens of all countries from forms of aggression that are less evident but equally real and serious. I am referring specifically to abuses in the financial system such as those transactions that led to the 2008 crisis, and more generally, to speculation lacking political or juridical constraints and the mentality that maximization of profits is the final criterion of all economic activity.  A mindset in which individuals are ultimately discarded will never achieve peace or justice.”

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