(AGI) Vatican City, Nov 20 - Markets hinder the fight againsthunger, Pope Francis told the United Nations' Rome-based Foodand Agriculture Organisation on Thursday. He said: "It is alsopainful to see that the struggle against hunger andmalnutrition is hindered by 'market priorities', the 'primacyof profit', which have reduced foodstuffs to a commodity likeany other, subject to speculation, also of a financial nature."He went on: "St. John Paul II, in his inauguration in this hallof the First Conference on Nutrition in 1992, warned theinternational community against the risk of the 'paradox ofplenty', in which there is food for everyone, but not everyonecan eat, while waste, excessive consumption and the use of foodfor other purposes is visible before our very eyes.Unfortunately, this 'paradox' remains relevant." He alsocondemned international embargos, imposed on governments butpaid for by the people, and the practice of setting agreementson development and cooperation for political reasons. "If onebelieves in the principle of the unity of the human family,founded on the fatherhood of the Divine Creator and brotherhoodbetween human beings, no form of political or economic pressurethat makes use of the availability of food is acceptable.Moreover, no system of discrimination, either de facto or bylaw, bound to the ability to access the food market, should betaken as reference for international action aimed ateliminating hunger," he said. He also attacked the lack oftransparency in diplomatic and governmental affairs. "There arefew topics that are subjected to as much sophistry as that ofhunger, and few that are so susceptible to the manipulation ofdata, statistics, and national security needs, to corruption ora painful reference to the economic crisis. The interest inproduction, the availability of food and access to it, climatechange, and agricultural trade should undoubtedly inspire rulesand technical measures, but the first concern should always bethe person, those who lack daily meals and have stoppedthinking about life, about familial and social relations, andfight only to survive", he said. All this, the Pope stated,must take priority over "new rights". (AGI).