Opposing Interests Can Perpetuate World Hunger, Pope Warns

Message for Anniversary of International Fund for Agricultural Development

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 19, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II encouraged the International Fund for Agricultural Development to continue the struggle against poverty and hunger, in the face of obstacles arising from egoisms and special interests.

The papal message was read by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, to IFAD President Lennart Bage during a meeting held in Rome to mark the fund’s 25th anniversary.

Among the participants were Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and representatives of various government and international organizations.

The Holy Father said the international scene is colored by opposing interests and the desire to dominate.

These attitudes lead to the abandonment of negotiations and to isolation, which impedes cooperation that could effectively respond to needs, the Pope explained.

It is a reality «that seriously endangers the survival of millions of people» despite the fact that the world «is living a development and progress unprecedented in history and is aware of the availability of resources at the global level,» the Holy Father said.

The risk affects especially the victims of conflicts and of grave violations of fundamental rights, refugees and displaced persons, and all those suffering from illnesses and epidemics.

These are situations that «threaten the ordered coexistence of people and communities, gravely endanger human life, and also have evident repercussions on food safety and, in general, on the life of rural areas,» the Pontiff explained.

«One cannot forget the sad resignation that seems to have extinguished the desire of whole populations to live, [populations] which hunger and malnutrition situate at the margin of the community of nations, far from conditions of life that really respect human dignity,» the Pope stressed.

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