Secretary of State John Kerry covered a broad range of topics with his counterpart Pietro Parolin at the Vatican in Rome on Monday. Besides Syria, the Middle East peace process, Sudan, and Cuba, the subject of poverty came up during their discussions.
In remarks following the meeting, Kerry linked poverty not only to terrorism, but to the "disenfranchisement of millions" [emphasis added]:
We talked about the common interest of Pope Francis and President Obama in addressing poverty and extreme poverty on a global basis. The United States of America is deeply involved in efforts in Africa and in other parts of the world – in Asia, South Central Asia – to address this poverty, as is the Catholic Church. And so we have a huge common interest in dealing with this issue of poverty, which in many cases is the root cause of terrorism or even the root cause of the disenfranchisement of millions of people on this planet.
Kerry's statement echoes comments he made in October 2013 at the Global Counterterrorism Forum after terrorist attacks in both Nairobi, Kenya, and Peshawar, Pakistan: "Getting this right isn’t just about taking terrorists off the street. It’s about providing more economic opportunities for marginalized youth at risk of recruitment."