JK touts religion on peace MKUMBWA ALLY in Rome Daily News; Monday,October 22, 2007 @00:03 PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete said yesterday that social disparities at national and international levels were largely responsible for conflicts spread throughout the world and called for action to redress the situation. He told an international Inter-religious Congress for Peace in Naples, South Italy, attended by Pope Benedict XVI, that there would be no sustainable global peace before the elimination of violence at national level and among nations. "It is unacceptable that with all the wealth available in the world, some people continue to live in abject poverty while others are basking in embarrassingly extravagant luxury," he said. Disparities among nations were the cause of poverty in the developing world, which was a serious threat to world peace, he added. "It is obvious that those who are poor and in dire need will continue to struggle for justice and a fairer share of the world's wealth," he explained. The president told the congress organised by the Community of Saint'Egidio, that religion had the moral authority to prevent and resolve conflicts. "Religion can be the voice of reason to help nations and people solve their differences peacefully," he said. Mr Kikwete cited the role of the Community of Saint 'Egidio in peace negotiations in Mozambique and Burundi. However, intervention by religious leaders must be impartial to be effective. "They must be objective even where their followers are party to the conflict," he said. He stressed that religion, which has massive following, cannot afford to watch as conflicts ravage the world. "It is the duty of every one of us to eliminate violence and ensure that peace, security and stability reign in the world for our common good," he told the congress. He praised religious leaders in Tanzania for preserving the inter-faith harmony founded by the Father of the Nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, which he said was hinged on the principle of a secular state and freedom of worship. Mr Kikwete arrived in Paris, France last evening and is today scheduled to address the General Conference of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).