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G20 summit: Pope calls on world leaders to discuss poor

Pope Francis during the Angelus' prayer in Saint Peter's square, Vatican City - 26 October 2014 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Pope Francis urged world leaders attending the G20 summit in Brisbane to think of the world's poor

The Pope has called on the G20 to seek improvements in the living conditions of the world's poorest people.

In a letter to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the Pope said any assessment of the G20 meetings should not just consider "global indices".

Leaders of the world's 20 largest economies meet in Brisbane this weekend to discuss a range of economic issues.

Pope Francis said the world also expected the G20 summit to address aggression in the Middle East.

"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," the Pope wrote in a letter published on the Vatican's website.

He said he hoped the assessment of the summit will "take into account as well real improvements in the living conditions of poorer families and the reduction of all forms of unacceptable inequality".

The whole world expected "a definitive halt to the unjust aggression directed at different religious and ethnic groups, including minorities, in the Middle East," he added.

"[The G20 summit] should also lead to eliminating the root causes of terrorism, which has reached proportions hitherto unimaginable; these include poverty, underdevelopment and exclusion," the statement continued.

He added that the world needed "a heightened awareness that religion may not be exploited as a means of justifying violence."

The G20 summit gets under way in Brisbane on Saturday.

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