Pope Urges Solidarity as Trade Summit Nears

Addresses Problem of the Poor and Access to Markets

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 24, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI appealed for solidarity with the world’s most disadvantaged populations, allowing them access to the markets, especially for their agricultural products.

The Pope made his appeal today when he met with participants in the conference of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Many of them will be attending the ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization, Dec. 13-18 in Hong Kong.

In a few days, in Hong Kong, many of the participants in the working sessions of the present conference will sit at the negotiating table on international trade, and will be especially concerned about discussing agricultural products.

«The Holy See is confident that a sense of responsibility and solidarity with the most disadvantaged will prevail, so that narrow interests and the logic of power will be set aside,» the Holy Father said in his address in English.

«It must not be forgotten that the vulnerability of rural areas has significant repercussions on the subsistence of small farmers and their families if they are denied access to the market,» Benedict XVI added.

«A consistent course of action would call for recognizing the essential role of the rural family as a guardian of values and a natural agent of solidarity in relationships between the generations,» explained the Bishop of Rome.

Rural farmers

«Consequently, support should also be given to the role of rural women and at the same time to children for whom not only nutrition but also basic education must be assured,» he stressed.

The Pontiff expressed the «particular concern» of the Church «for small rural farmers who represent a significant part of the active population especially in developing countries.»

«One course of action might be to ensure that rural populations receive the resources and tools which they need, beginning with education and training, as well as organizational structures capable of safeguarding small family farms and cooperatives,» he suggested.

Benedict XVI also mentioned «the importance of helping native communities, all too often subjected to undue appropriations aimed at profit.»

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