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The Pope has warned Christians will disappear from the Middle East if more attention isn't paid to the violence that has forced tens of thousands of Christians to flee their homes.
Speaking to leaders of Middle East churches in Italy on Saturday, Pope Francis said: "There is also the danger that the presence of our brothers and sisters in the faith will disappear, disfiguring the very face of the region.
"For a Middle East without Christians would not be the Middle East. Indifference kills and we desire to lift up our voices in opposition to this murderous indifference."
In his opening prayer, Francis described the Middle East as being "covered by dark clouds of war, violence, and destruction, instances of occupation and varieties of fundamentalism, forced migration, and neglect".
The pontiff has voiced his disapproval of wars on a number of occasions and in his address he also called on global powers to end their "thirst for profit that surreptitiously exploits oil and gas fields without regard for our common home".
Christians make up approximately 5 per cent of the population in the Middle East - down from 20 per cent in the early 20th century, according to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
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