Kenya: Pope Francis urges leaders to listen to AU on global trade deal

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Pope Francis gave a rare backing to the African Union (AU) ahead of a major international trade conference in Nairobi, calling for a deal to equalize the  global trading environment.

The pontiff spoke about the global trade agreement that has been under discussions for more than a decade and also called on the UN to work towards supporting the poor in all its efforts.

Kenya is set to host the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Nairobi from 15-18 December 2015, with an eye on a deal to move the Doha Round of talks forward.

Pope Francis said Africa, a continent endowed with rich environmental wealth and diversity, still suffered from poverty caused by the unequal distribution of resources.

He said the greatest sin of the world would be to sit idle and fail to act on the challenges facing the poor in Africa, who could easily benefit from enhanced international trading system.

“We need to be alert to one sign of the 'globalization of indifference': The fact that we are gradually growing indifferent to the suffering of others, as if it were something normal,” the Pope said in a speech at the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi.

Pope Francis said the Vatican has had a long history of following up on the world trade issues because the church recognized the close relationship between states, their people and trade was important.

“It is my hope that the deliberations of the forthcoming Nairobi conference will not be a simple balancing of conflicting interests, but genuine service to care for our common home and the integral development of persons, especially those in great need,” he said.

Earlier, the Pope, who on Thursday started the first leg of his five-day African tour in Nairobi, met with all Catholic clergy, where he encouraged the church workers and priests to stay strong in their service to God.

The Holy Father said the religious communities of the Catholic Church should continue to pray and work towards issues of regional cooperation, especially in support of the African Union (AU).

Pope Francis said this prayer should be extended and pursued vigorously to ensure the prosperity of the poor and for the common good of all African citizens.

The AU has been pushing for a common African position on all major global issues, including trade.

The upcoming Nairobi conference, though being held in Africa for the first time, has shown that major issues of discussion at the WTO level are mostly decided upon by the world’s major trade powers.
-0- PANA AO/AR 26Nov2015

26 november 2015 18:15:39

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