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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Religious Leaders Condemn Violence

International religious leaders on Wednesday condemned attempts to use religion to justify violence and called for world leaders to be ecologically responsible in a declaration to be delivered to the G8 summit later this month.

The World Religious Summit, organized by the Russian Orthodox Church, concluded Wednesday after bringing together faith leaders from 49 countries with the aim of promoting religious dialogue and underlining the importance of religion in the run-up to the July 15-17 G8 summit in St. Petersburg.

"We condemn terrorism and extremism in any form as well as attempts to justify it by religion. … We regret the actions of pseudo-religious groups and movements that are ruining the freedom and health of people as well as the moral climate in society," the summit said in its concluding communique.

"It is completely necessary that all governments and business societies take the same responsibility for conserving the resources of our planet," the statement said.

Energy security is to be one of the top issues on the agenda of the G8 summit, a reflection not only of the concerns of energy-hungry Western and Asian economies, but also of Russia's role as one of the world's top oil-exporting countries.

"Not only energy security but how we use energy in society has to be taken into account" by the G8 leaders, Metropolitan Kirill, the Russian church's head of external relations, said at a news conference.

Despite the aim of showing unity among religions, the summit also reflected some tensions. Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama was not invited because of concerns of irritating China, and religious leaders from Iraq were not invited because of Russian anger over last month's killing of four embassy staff members there.