Pope Francis blames the West for deaths of children in Middle East

Wealthy countries are fuelling conflicts by selling weapons to war zones, says pope

Pope Francis: ‘Rich Europe and America sell weapons used to kill children and kill people. Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty

Pope Francis: ‘Rich Europe and America sell weapons used to kill children and kill people. Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty

 

Pope Francis has blamed Europe and the United States for the deaths of children in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, saying wealthy Western countries fuel conflicts by selling weapons in war zones.

Speaking to students and teachers of Milan’s San Carlo Institute, Francis said the reason there are so many wars around the world is “the rich Europe and America sell weapons . . . used to kill children and kill people”.

Without such firepower, the pope added, there would not have been war in countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria.

He said: “A country that produces and sells weapons has on its conscience the death of every child and the destruction of each family.”

Talking about the need for countries to welcome and integrate migrants, the pope refuted the concerns over crime that many governments cite to keep out asylum-seekers.

He said foreigners are not the source of most crime in Italy because “we also have lots of them”.

He added: “The Mafia has not been invented by Nigerians. Mafia is ours.

“All of us have the possibility of being criminal. Migrants bring us wealth because Europe has been made by migrants.” – AP