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Urbi et Orbi: Pope Francis laments ‘winds of war’ blowing around the world

Pope Francis gives his Apostolic Blessing from the balcony of St Peter's (Getty Images)

As Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Pope has depicted suffering reflected “in the faces of little children,” citing war and other tensions in places including the Middle East, Africa and the Korean Peninsula.

Pope Francis told the faithful Monday that “the winds of war are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline.”

In his traditional Christmas message and blessing, the pontiff said children in the Middle East “continue to suffer because of growing tension between Israelis and Palestinians,” while Syria remains “marked by war” and ongoing conflict in Yemen “has been largely forgotten.”

He offered a prayer that “confrontation may be overcome on the Korean Peninsula.”