Pope urges G20 leaders not to forget the poor

Pope Francis greets people as he arrives for his weekly open-air general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on November 12, 2014. AFP Photo

Pope Francis has called on G20 leaders not to forget the poor, saying to do so would be "regrettable" as the heads of the world's most powerful economies prepare to meet in Australia.
The Group of 20 leaders are expected to sign off in Brisbane this weekend on a pledge to boost the level of their combined economic output by at least two percent above the currently projected level in the next five years, creating millions of jobs.
In a letter to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who holds the G20's rotating presidency, the pope said world powers "must not forget that many lives are at stake behind these political and technical discussions".
"And it would indeed be regrettable if such discussions were to remain purely on the level of declarations of principle," he said in the letter, sent on November 6 but only made public on Wednesday.
"There are far too many women and men suffering from severe malnutrition, a rise in the number of the unemployed, an extremely high percentage of young people without work and an increase in social exclusion which can lead to criminal activity and even the recruitment of terrorists."       

He said he hoped the talks would mark a step towards "eliminating the root causes of terrorism, which has reached proportions hitherto unimaginable; these include poverty, underdevelopment and exclusion".
"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 pontiff added that he hoped to see "a substantial and productive consensus" on boosting growth and jobs that took...

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