Pope Francis Urges World Leaders to Cancel Debts

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Pope Francis has called on rich nations to reduce or cancel the debts of poor nations in the face of the global Coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Pope, this would be a much better response to the pandemic as it will help poor countries free up funds to fight the spread of the virus.

See Also: COVID-19: Poor will rebel if lockdown continues – PRP

Pope Francis made his position known through his Easter message delivered at the Vatican on Sunday.

For the first time in nearly 800 years, the pope carried out Easter mass in front of an empty cathedral as opposed to the thousands that normally gather at St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square.

This is not a time for indifference, because the whole world is suffering and needs to be united in facing the pandemic. May the risen Jesus grant hope to all the poor, to those living on the peripheries, to refugees and the homeless.

“In light of the present circumstances, may international sanctions be relaxed, since these make it difficult for countries on which they have been imposed to provide adequate support to their citizens, and may all nations be put in a position to meet the greatest needs of the moment through the reduction, if not the forgiveness, of the debt burdening the balance sheets of the poorest nations.

Pope Francis said in his Easter message.

During prayers for the sick, poor and elderly, the pope urged global leaders to provide succour for people who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

There should be solidarity the world over to confront the disease he described as an “epochal challenge” posed by the global health crisis.”

Recalling how Europe was united in the face of World War II, he urged European Union leaders to resist selfish and divisive tendencies and stand up to the Coronavirus pandemic United.

“This is not a time for self-centredness, because the challenge we are facing is shared by all, without distinguishing between persons.”

Pope Francis concluded.

A former world Bank Director, Okonjo Iweala and former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo have also asked for debt relief for African countries to enable them better cope with the pandemic.

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