Pope John Paul II met a group of Nobel Peace Prize laureates headed by Mikhail Gorbachev on Monday. The international delegation was in Rome as guests of the mayor, Francesco Rutelli, for a two-day meeting of the International Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies. The Pope told them: "A concerted effort must be made to ensure that new generations reject the ways of discrimination, exclusion and conflict, and set out resolutely on the path to peace in a spirit of openness to the values and traditions of others." The Pope praised the Nobel Prize winners for their work "in seeking to promote a culture of nonviolence and peace among the children of the world" and "in recognising that a civilisation of peace cannot be built without tackling the problem of external debt." The two-day forum focused on the Middle East situation, disarmament, globalisation and the need for development in the world's poorest areas. Mr Gorbachev said the forum examined ways in which opportunities generated by globalisation might be shared in a just way. He added: "Personally, I am in favour of eliminating the debts of developing countries. However, I stress that this is not enough for their economic relaunching. A range of much more complex measures are necessary to foster development in these countries."
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