Saturday, July 04, 2009

Boost aid to poor, Pope tells G8 ahead of summit

Pope Benedict XVI waves during his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican July 1, 2009. (REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

The Star
Saturday July 4, 2009

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Group of Eight leaders meeting in Italy next week to discuss the state of the global economy should not forget about the world's poor, Pope Benedict said in a letter released by the Vatican on Saturday.

The pope said aid programmes, particularly those for Africa, risked being cancelled or drastically reduced because of the financial crisis, plunging even more people into poverty.

"I appeal to G8 member states ... to maintain and boost development aid, not in spite of the crisis but precisely because this is one of the main solutions to it," he said in the letter, addressed to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Leaders from the G8 countries -- the United States, Britain, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Canada -- and the main developing economies meet in the city of L'Aquila from July 8-10.

Italy has invited 40 countries and organisations, and on the final day of the summit, talks will be broadened to include some African nations -- a step which the pontiff said was a significant progress.

"It is necessary to consider carefully all issues, not just those put forward by the most important or most economically successful countries ... Let's hear the voice of Africa and of least developed nations," he said.

See also:

From Asia News, "Pope to G8: Against the crisis, invest in human beings and listen to the poor countries"

From KDKA Pittsburgh, "Pope Urges G8 Leaders To Act On Crisis"

From EarthTimes, "Pope calls on G8 nations to maintain and boost aid to world's poor"

From Bloomberg, "Pope Urges G-8, Berlusconi to Help Poor, Reform Global Finance"

From the Bangkok Post, "Pope urges more development aid"


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