11/11/2014, 00.00
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Pope asks G-20 to reach an agreement to stop terrorism in the Middle East

Pope Francis writes for the Brisbane summit. The answer to "unjust aggression" cannot only be military, but must extend to those who fund it, as well as its "root causes" like poverty or exclusion. People must be defended even from "other forms of aggression" like the "abuses in the financial system."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The international community, in particular the G20 countries, should stop the "unjust aggression" of terrorism in the Middle East, eliminating its backers and causes, like poverty and exclusion. They must equally protect people from other "forms of aggression" like the "abuses in the financial system," said Pope Francis in a letter to the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, who currently chairs the Group of 20 nations with the largest economies (G20) set to meet at a Summit of Heads of State and Government on 15-16 November in Brisbane.

"The whole world," the pontiff writes, "expects from the G20 an ever broader agreement which can lead, through the United Nations legal system, to a definitive halt to the unjust aggression directed at different religious and ethnic groups, including minorities, in the Middle East."

Any response to terrorism, the papal statement notes, cannot be limited to the military, "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. There is also a need for education and a heightened awareness that religion may not be exploited as a means of justifying violence." Likewise, "It should also lead to eliminating the root causes of terrorism, which has reached proportions hitherto unimaginable; these include poverty, underdevelopment and exclusion.

"The international community," the pope goes on to say, "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 mind-set in which individuals are ultimately discarded will never achieve peace or justice. Responsibility for the poor and the marginalized must therefore be an essential element of any political decision".

At the same time, "I would ask the G20 Heads of State and Government not to 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. Throughout the world, the G20 countries included, 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. In addition, there are constant assaults on the natural environment, the result of unbridled consumerism, and this will have serious consequences for the world economy.

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