Pope warns of ‘dangerous alliances’ at G20

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ROME: Pope Francis said Saturday that the G20 summit in Germany “worries” him because of the potential for “very dangerous alliances” among world leaders, with particularly dire consequences for migrants.

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“I worry about very dangerous alliances between powers which have a distorted vision of the world: America and Russia, China and North Korea, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and (Syria’s Bashar al-) Assad over the war in Syria,” the Pope said in an interview with Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper.

FIRST HANDSHAKE US President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. Russia’s pro-Kremlin media reacted triumphantly on Saturday to the first handshake and lengthy talks between the two leaders. Putin assured Trump that Moscow did not meddle in the US 2016 presidential election, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. AFP PHOTO

“The danger concerns immigration. Our main and unfortunately growing problem in the world today is that of the poor, the weak, the excluded, which includes migrants,” he said, pointing to countries that “fear an invasion of migrants.”

“This is why the G20 worries me: It mainly hits immigrants,” he said.

Concerning Europe, the “richest continent in the whole world” which has faced an influx of hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees since 2015, the Pope warned its leaders not to fall prey to the illusion that it is possible to seal its borders.

On Friday, Francis had urged G20 leaders to work toward “more inclusive and sustainable global economic growth,” while also highlighting the plight of some 30 million people trapped in conflict and famine, especially in Africa and Yemen.

In his entreaty to the summiteers, hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Pontiff said he appreciated efforts by the world’s major economies to target “more inclusive and sustainable global economic growth.”

But in a “heartfelt appeal” Francis focused on conflict.

He urged the G20 nations to help resolve “the tragic situation in South Sudan, the Lake Chad basin, the Horn of Africa and Yemen, where 30 million people are lacking the food and water needed to survive.”

“A commitment to meet these situations with urgency and to provide immediate support to those peoples will be a sign of the seriousness and sincerity of the mid-term commitment to reforming the world economy and a guarantee of its sound development,” the Pope insisted.

Francis said world leaders should give “absolute priority to the poor, refugees, the suffering, evacuees and the excluded, without distinction of nation, race, religion or culture.”

War “is never a solution,” he said.

World leaders, he urged, should strive to “substantially reducing levels of conflict, halting the present arms race and renouncing direct or indirect involvement in conflicts.”

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