Pope warns G20 against 'dangerous alliances' damaging poor, migrants: paper

General view of the discussion table while German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seen on the screen above during the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

MILAN (Reuters) - Pope Francis warned leaders of the world’s top 20 economies meeting in Hamburg against forming dangerous and distorting alliances that could harm the poor and migrants, in an article in Italian daily la Repubblica on Saturday.

“The G20 worries me, it hits migrants in countries in half of the world and it hits them even more as time goes by,” the Pope was quoted as saying in a conversation with the paper’s founder Eugenio Scalfari.

Francis, the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, said he was afraid of “very dangerous alliances among (foreign) powers that have a distorted vision of the world: America and Russia, China and North Korea, (Vladimir) Putin and (Bashar al-)Assad in the war in Syria.”

He said the greatest danger concerned immigration, with “the poor, the weak, the excluded and the marginalised” juxtaposed with “those who... fear the invasion of migrants”.

European Union states are at odds over how to cope with a huge influx of migrants, many fleeing war and poverty in countries Syria, Afghanistan and other countries.

On top of resolving the differences over trade and climate change Angela Merkel, chancellor of G20 host nation Germany, is expected to lead discussions on this issue.

Pope Francis was also quoted as saying Europe should adopt a federal structure as soon as possible or “it won’t count for anything in the world”

In May the 79-year old Argentine urged Europe not to see migrants as criminals.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti; editing by John Stonestreet