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Pope: Roots of Terror Need Scrutiny

September 7, 2002

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VATICAN CITY (AP) _ Pope John Paul II said Saturday that injustice and oppression can lead desperate people into terrorism and urged the world to address the ``underlying causes″ of hatred and violence.

While the pontiff said nothing justified terrorism or other violent behavior, he noted ``the recruitment of terrorists is more easily achieved in areas where human rights are trampled upon.″

``This is not to say that the inequalities and abuses existing in the world excuse acts of terrorism: there can never, of course, be any justification for violence and disregard for human life,″ he said.

He said the international community must understand ``the underlying causes that lead young people especially to despair of humanity, of life itself and of the future, and to fall prey to the temptations of violence, hatred and a desire for revenge at any cost.″

The pope’s remarks were issued by the Vatican press office Saturday during a meeting with newly assigned British Ambassador to the Holy See, Kathryn Frances Colvin. She presented her credentials during a visit to the papal palace in Castel Gandolfo, just outside Rome.

John Paul also praised the British government for several recent initiatives, including debt reduction for poor countries, peacekeeping in Afghanistan, Africa policy and attempts to bring peace to Northern Ireland.

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