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From the Vatican Information Service
organized by the Council of the Interparliamentary Union were received this
morning by the Pope who, in his talk to them, spoke of the problem of
malnutrition in the world and underlined the "right to food of each and
every person on earth." He also asked that the external debts of poor
countries be eased or cancelled.
He reminded his guests that they had made a commitment during the 1996
FAO food summit in Rome, to try "to reduce by half the number of people who
suffer from malnutrition" by the year 2015 and "to put into place juridical
frameworks of reference suitable for directing a development of world
agriculture which respects the environment."
The Pope said he recognized the difficulties inherent in achieving such a
goal, adding that their program to do so is "realistic ... but it is also
an ambitious and generous program." He stressed that the Church's mission
in this regard is "to unceasingly support all men and women of good will
who seek such solutions."
"An acceptable perception of the international economy must, always and
without exception, satisfy the right to food of each and every person on
earth. ... Natural catastrophes, international conflicts or civil wars must
never be excuses not to respect this obligation." He also affirmed that
political decisions in this regard must always bear in mind the common
good, and must not be influenced by national or sectarian interests.
"How can we not mention in this context," the Holy Father stated, "the
problem of the external debt of the poorest countries as well as the
difficulty that many developing countries have in getting access to credit"
in just and favorable conditions. "May God enlighten politicians in the
more well-to-do countries to find the means" of "easing or cancelling
outright the burdens which are so heavy and which are crushing the most
disadvantaged populations of so many regions of the world!"
AC/FOOD:MALNUTRITION/... VIS 981130 (330)